Jussie Smollett, 36, may have had the criminal charges related to his allegedly staged January 29th hate crime dropped, but the case seems to be far from over. The Empire star may still face federal charges and civil lawsuits related to the scandal, and may file one himself, according to multiple reports.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney dropped 16 felony counts against Smollett for allegedly filing a false report about what he described as a racist and homophobic attack. (Smollett is black and openly gay).
On Wednesday, police released the entire 61-page investigative report into Smollett’s attack. An hour later, a court order reportedly barred them from releasing further files, though much of the report is available in some form online.
The report includes information on a search warrant police obtained for the Empire star’s iCloud account, and details about their questioning of a pair of Nigerian brothers who claimed he hired them to stage the attack.
The FBI is considering filing charges of mail fraud, and is currently investigating whether or not he sent himself hate mail the week before the alleged attack.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuelis also reportedly considering a suit to recoup money the city wasted on the investigation.
Emanuel spoke out on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday, saying he is determined to figure out what happened. "The first part, I want to get to the bottom of it: Did he commit this hoax? That is the question that has to first be answered," Emanuel said on GMA. "The second question is: What happened here that allowed the State's Attorney's Office – that was in the room with the police department when they decided to actually bring the charges to the grand jury that actually brought the indictments – what made them all of a sudden say, 'You know what, on second thought, this is enough'?"
Emanuel said, “They better get their story straight. This is making a fool of all of us. You know, all over the city of Chicago, George, there are signs on front yards and windows that says ‘hate has no home here.’ He turned those values upside down and inside out.”
He continued: “He abused the city of Chicago and actually committed a crime here and lied about something and, remember, the grand jury indicted him when only seeing a portion of the evidence and he said he wanted to get his name clear. That’s what I want for him. Let’s get to the bottom of this.”
SMOLLETT MAY SUE
When Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday to discuss the stunning turnaround in his case, she responded to co-host George Stephanopoulous’ question about a possible suit: “We’re weighing our options now.”
“For Jussie, what’s really important is he really just wants his career and his life back,” the lawyer continued. “Again, he did not ask for any of this, he was a victim of a crime.”
As far as the investigation into the crime goes, another attorney for Smollett, Patricia Brown Holmes, said police should continue to investigate brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who police said Smollett paid to stage the attack. (They claimed he paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, which police said was motivated by a desire to increase his profile, and therefore his salary on Empire). Smollett maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.
Smollett voluntarily forfeited his $10,000 bond and has performed community service, which First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats has dubbed a “fair and just outcome for the case.”