Follow-up: Charges dropped against Jussie Smollett for allegedly staging hate crime


Chris Johnson, Writer

On March 26, the State’s Attorney for Cook County, Illinois dropped 16 charges against actor Jussie Smollett arising from an investigation into a hate crime Smollett reported in late January and sealed his records pertaining to the case. Investigators concluded that Smollett had paid two men to attack him in a staged hate crime as a stunt to obtain a pay increase. He was indicted on 16 felony counts, including filing a false police report.

Despite charges being dropped, Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats stood by the police’s findings. Eddie Johnson, Chicago’s police superintendent, was furious as well as surprised by the decision. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, was outraged at this action, calling it a “whitewash of justice.” Mayor Emanuel stated his opinion on the case, saying, “[This case] sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power you’ll be treated one way and if you’re not you’ll be treated another way.” In addition, Mayor Emanuel is considering filing a civil lawsuit against Smollett to reclaim the money the city spent on investigating Smollett’s report.

The actor also faces possible indictment in federal court for several crimes, including mail fraud, for allegedly sending a threatening letter to himself at the filming location for his former show, Empire.

Because the records were sealed, no one knows why the charges were dropped. However, analysts have several theories, such as a lack of evidence (something that police have claimed to be in plethora); concern that Smollett would not be able to receive a fair trial due to the juggernaut of negative media coverage; the credibility—or lack thereof—of the Osandairo brothers, the two witnesses and alleged “attackers” in the case; deferred prosecution; or a secret deal.




Chavez, Nicole. “Why Did Prosecutors Drop All Charges against Jussie Smollett?” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Mar. 2019,

Sager, Jessica. “Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Rahm Emanuel Call Jussie Smollett Charges Being Dropped ‘Whitewash of Justice’.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 26 Mar. 2019,

Sager, Jessica. “Jussie Smollett Hoax Charges Dropped, but Federal Investigation, Lawsuits Could Be Next.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 27 Mar. 2019,