Jussie Smollett broke his silence at a press conference Tuesday after the Chicago Police Department’s felony case against him was dismissed.
The Empire actor — who was indicted earlier this month on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime attack — told reporters that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
He added: “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of.”
Smollett thanked his lawyers, his family, friends, fans and the people of Chicago for their support while noting that the past months have been tough for him.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly, one of the worst of my entire life,” he concluded. “But I am a man of faith, and I’m a man that has knowledge of our history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this.”
Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, also addressed reporters during the news conference. “We have nothing to say to the police department except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press,” she said.
As for whether a deal was reached with prosecutors, Brown denied the speculation. “There is no deferred prosecution,” she added. “There is no deal. The state dismissed the charges.”
BREAKING: All charges have been dropped against actor Jussie Smollett, his attorneys confirm. pic.twitter.com/aaD8tNXScH
— The Appeal (@theappeal) March 26, 2019
Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, elaborated on Brown’s remarks with a statement of her own, saying: “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’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.”
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson’s reaction, however, was less diplomatic. “Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology,” he said.
Johnson added: “I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth and know they tried to hide behind secrecy to broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel shared Johnson’s frustration, referring to the final outcome of the case as a “whitewash of justice.”
WATCH: #ChicagoPolice Supt. Eddie Johnson & @ChicagosMayor Rahm Emanuel address the media following today's Chicago Police Academy graduation ceremony at Navy Pier. Full video here: https://t.co/sY54knaIMD pic.twitter.com/A7qDpg4SDO
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) March 26, 2019
Tuesday’s developments came weeks after Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on Jan. 29 in Chicago.
You can watch the full press conference below.