Ready to move on. Jussie Smollett spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, March 26, shortly after Chicago prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against him.
“Hey everybody, I just made a couple notes,” the 36-year-old Empire star began. “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, who have shown me so much love. No one will ever know how much that’s meant to me and I will be forever grateful.”
Smollett, who was dressed in a navy coat and white shirt, appeared calm as he addressed the crowd. He added that he has 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’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 a man of knowledge of history and I wouldn’t bring my family through this, I just wouldn’t,” the actor said. “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.”
He concluded: “But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. Again, thank you for all the support, thank you for faith, and thank you to God. Bless you all. Thank you very much.”
Us confirmed on Tuesday that prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollett nearly two months after the alleged attack against him. The singer, who claimed on January 29 that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic incident, was named as a suspect in the investigation on February 21.
While police claimed during a press conference earlier this month that Smollett organized the attack because he wanted a raise on the FOX drama, he maintained his innocence throughout the case.
The Cook County State Attorney’s Office released a statement to Us on Tuesday, standing by the Chicago Police Department.
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the statement reads. “We standby the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case.”
20th Century FOX, meanwhile, added: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!