Jussie Smollett gave his first public statement after his charges were dropped on Tuesday morning, thanking his community for their support.
Smollett spoke in front of a crowd of reporters on Tuesday morning, not long after the 16 counts of disorderly conduct against him were dropped. The Empire star looked solemn as he thanked those who had stood by his side throughout the ordeal, including his family, his community and his faith.
"First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country — and the world — who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have shown me so much love," Smollett said. "No one will ever know how much that has meant to me, and I will forever be grateful."
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett speaks after all charges were dropped: "I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of." https://t.co/llZlJ934Wn pic.twitter.com/miCDNDRxxs— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 26, 2019
"I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," he went on. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."
"This has been an incredibly difficult time — honestly one of the worst of my entire life — but I am a man of faith, and I am man that has knowledge of my history," Smollett continued. "I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn't."
"So I want to thank my legal counsel from the bottom of my heart, and I would also like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what's right. Now, I would like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. But, make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere," Smollett declared.
Illinois State's Attorney Kim Foxx officially announced on Tuesday that the case against Smollett would be dropped. The actor forfeited his $10,000 bond to the city, and Foxx argued that he had already performed enough community service.
Sources close to the investigation told TMZ that the prosecution "disintegrated" when the Osundairo brothers' lawyer confirmed that the check Smollett had written to them was indeed for personal training and nutrition counseling, not for staging a fake hate crime. In addition, the Chicago Police Department reportedly claimed that Smollett had written a threatening letter to himself, when in fact federal investigators had not reached that conclusion.
The police have not released a statement, though they are reportedly "furious" to see Smollett walk free.