Jussie Smollett Reaffirms His Innocence, Feels 'Betrayed' After Bail Hearing

Jussie Smollett is doubling down on his innocence after posting his bail and returning to the Empire set.

The actor was charged with a felony disorderly conduct charge after police presented evidence of his involvement staging the racist and homophobic attack he suffered on Jan. 26.

"Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," read a statement sent out late Thursday on behalf of the Empire actor, first published by Deadline.

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system," the statement added. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," it also noted, tossing more political edge into an already sharply political affair."

Should Smollett be found guilty, he faces a potential sentence of up to three years in prison. The actor was arrested earlier Thursday ahead of a bond hearing where a judge called for a $100,000 bond and ordered him to surrender his passport.

Citing the charges and claiming the actor filed a false police report, Chicago P.D. Superintendent Eddie Johnson today called what Smollett is alleged to have done a "shameful" attempt to "take advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

Ahead of the hearing, FOX Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television released a new statement, the first where the companies did not express their support for Smollett.

"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options," the statement read, following reports producers were considering writing the actor out of the Fox drama series.

After posting his bail, the actor returned to the set of Empire where he reportedly apologized to the cast and crew and insisted that he was not involved in the attack.

"I'm sorry I've put you all through this and not answered any calls," Smollett said, according to a TMZ report. "I wanted to say I'm sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this."


Producers reportedly met earlier Thursday to discuss the actor's future on the series.