The prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he still believes the 'Empire' actor is guilty

  • All charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett on Tuesday, two weeks after he pleaded not guilty to counts of disorderly conduct related to accusations that he staged a hate crime against himself.
  • Joe Magats, Cook County’s first assistant state’s attorney, told CNN affiliate WLS dropping charges does not necessarily mean Smollett is innocent.
  • He said he believes that Smollett “did what he was charged with doing,” and that this is “not an exoneration.”
  • Smollett stood by his claim that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack on Tuesday, saying he has been “truthful and consistent on every level since day one.”

The prosecutor who dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett said he still believes that the “Empire” actor staged the hate crime that he reported to police in Chicago in January.

All charges were dropped against Smollett on Tuesday, two weeks after he pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct related to accusations that he filed a false police report and staged a racist and homophobic attack against himself.

Joe Magats, Cook County’s first assistant state’s attorney, told CNN affiliate WLS that the dropped charges do not mean Smollett is innocent.

“We believe he did what he was charged with doing,” he said. “This was not an exoneration. To say he was exonerated by us or anyone else is not true.”

WLS reported that charges were dropped after prosecutors reviewed the case and Smollett’s recent community service at the Rainbow Push Coalition, a social-justice non-profit organisation founded by Jesse Jackson.


Read more:
Chicago Police say the city is ‘owed an apology’ after prosecutors dropped charges against Jussie Smollett

Magats took over the case from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the investigation after it was revealed she had been in contact with Smollett’s family, according to CNN.

He told WLS that Smollett’s case is being scrutinised because of the actor’s celebrity status.

“There are plenty of other cases … over 5,700 that have gotten some type of alternative or deferred type of prosecution involving a dismissal at the end of the case,” he said. “To think that there is some type of infirmity or something that we learned about the case or something that we don’t want aired is not true.”

Smollett stood by his claim that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one,” he said. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”

Chicago Police, meanwhile, defended their investigation and their belief that Smollett of of hiring two men to orchestrate the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on “Empire.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed his disappointment over the dropped charges, calling it a “whitewash of justice.”

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