“His life has been turned upside down as my family and I have witnessed him endure unrelenting attacks to his character and reputation,” JoJo writes. “Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him. To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement.”
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He goes on to blast CPD for “leaks” about the investigation and members of the media for reporting on them.
“After several leaks from ‘unnamed’ police sources and despite a long history of wrongful accusations from the Chicago Police Department, many in the media accepted these unconfirmed reports as fact,” he states. “The numerous police leaks, which prompted an internal Chicago Police investigation, convicted Jussie in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom.”
The case began when Smollett told officers he was assaulted on January 29, by two masked men as they shouted racist and homophobic slurs.
The actor, who is African-American and gay, claimed the attackers wrapped a noose around his neck, doused him with a chemical and shouted, “This is MAGA country.” Police later said Smollett paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack as he angled to get a pay raise on Empire.
JoJo, who runs a nonprofit that helps developmentally disabled people prepare for the workforce, rails against the brothers.
“With not one inkling of solid evidence, many believed the false witness testimony from two suspects who turned into witnesses, even though they lacked standard credibility,” he writes. “It was under-reported that one of the ‘witnesses’ had previously been arrested for attempted murder ending with a plea deal for aggravated battery, or that the brothers repeatedly expressed homophobia on their social media in the past.”
Smollett was arrested and charged with 16 counts for allegedly filing a false police report. He pleaded not guilty, yet in a surprise move on March 26, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the charges after he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail and perform community service.
While the case was dismissed, the twists and turns have continued.
The city of Chicago is now suing the actor in civil court to recover more than $130,000 it says was spent on police overtime hours investigating the case.
Prosecutors are also under fire for their decision to let Smollett walk away.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has said the decision to drop the charges was something that is frequently done by her office. She also hinted that criticism of the action may be racially motivated.
While she recused herself in February, text messages and emails released earlier this week show Foxx continued to offer input on the case.
In one text, she complained that the charges against “washed up celeb” Smollett were too harsh compared to the sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly.
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16,” she said. “On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally. Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
Two weeks later, the charges against Smollett were dropped.
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