Chicago mayor wants to 'get to the bottom' of Smollett case

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The mayor of Chicago has said he wants to “get to the bottom” of what caused prosecutors to abruptly drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett.

The US star, who is black and gay, was accused of staging a hate crime to help boost his career in January.

Smollett said two men had attacked him on a Chicago street, putting a noose around his neck while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

Prosecutors accused him of paying two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, $3,500 (£2,658) to carry out the attack.

Cook County State’s attorney’s office said it stood by its accusations against Smollett but was dropping all charges, adding that the actor’s prior community service and his agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bond was a just outcome.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he wants to “find out what happened” and added that Smollett has “abused” the city of Chicago.

Jussie Smollett has said he has been vindicated after he denied staging the attack
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Jussie Smollett has said he has been vindicated after he denied staging the attack

Mr Emmmanuel told the US news channel ABC: “The state’s attorney’s office is saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax.

“He’s saying he’s innocent and his words are true.

“They better get their stories straight, because this is making fools of all of us.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also criticised the prosecutor’s decision, saying it did not serve justice.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has criticised the prosecutor's decision
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Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has criticised the prosecutor’s decision

Their comments came a day after Smollett walked out of court saying he had been vindicated in insisting he had not staged the attack.

The actor, who plays a musician on Fox’s hip-hop TV drama “Empire”, had been charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.

The charges alleged he gave false accounts of an attack on him to police investigators.

Kim Foxx, Chicago’s chief prosecutor, defended her decision to drop the charges on the WBEZ radio station on Wednesday.

She said: “There’s some people who were never gonna be satisfied unless Mr Smollett spent many nights in prison, and then there were others who believed that the charging of 16 counts of disorderly conduct was excessive.”



The case against Empire star Jussie Smollett has been dropped.



The case against Empire star Jussie Smollett has been dropped.

She added that the charges Smollett faced were unlikely to have led to a prison sentence if he had been convicted.

Ms Foxx continued: “What I can tell you is that most people who come through the criminal justice system don’t give up $10,000 of their hard-earned money, or engage in volunteer services connected with an alleged offence, without viewing that as a way of being held accountable.”

The chief prosecutor recused herself the case prior to Smollett being charged because of conversations she had with one of Smollett’s relatives, according to her spokesman.

Smollett initially earned widespread sympathy from celebrities and some Democratic presidential candidates over his account of the alleged assault.

The Chicago Police Department released what it said were all its records from the case on Wednesday, totalling 61 pages, with some names and other personal details redacted.

The records aligned with the information included in court filings, including summaries of interviews with the Osundairo brothers who said Smollett gave them a $3,500 check and $100 (£75) in cash to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps used in the attack.

Smollett’s lawyers said he hopes to move on with his acting career, but it remains unclear whether he will return to “Empire” after being written out of the last two episodes of the most recent season.

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