CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett (all times local):
Felony charges may have been dropped against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, but experts say he faces an uphill climb to get his career back on track.
Smollett’s biggest role is on “Empire,” which had cut him out of the its final two episodes this season after his arrest on 16 felony counts related to making a false police report that he was assaulted by two men in downtown Chicago in January.
The 36-year-old maintains that he is the victim of a vicious attack, but Chicago’s mayor and police chief say they believe it was orchestrated as a publicity stunt.
Crisis management expert Eric Rose says while most people probably don’t think the actor is innocent, Smollett can still fix his image by being honest.
A conservative Illinois state lawmaker wants the state attorney general to review the circumstances under which criminal charges were dismissed against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
State Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from the Chicago suburb of Barrington Hills, filed a resolution Wednesday asking Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul (KWAH’-may RAW’-ool) to “conduct a full, prompt, and comprehensive examination” of the case.
Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday abruptly dismissed all of the charges but still claim that Smollett lied about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29.
A spokeswoman for Raoul didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Smollett has maintained that he’s innocent.
Jussie Smollett’s attorney says two brothers who claim they worked with the “Empire” actor to stage a racist, anti-gay attack against him are lying.
Tina Glandian spoke with “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, a day after Chicago prosecutors abruptly dropped charges yet still insisted that Smollett lied to police about being attacked by two strangers on Jan. 29.
Glandian says Smollett, who is black and gay, had hired one brother as a personal trainer, and that they discussed training and nutrition in the hours before the attack as Smollett’s flight to Chicago was delayed. But she says Smollett had no idea who attacked him until the brothers were later identified by police.
She says Smollett is a crime victim and “just wants his life back.”
Prosecutors offered little explanation when dropping the case, a move that infuriated Chicago’s mayor and police chief.
Prosecutors still insist Jussie Smollett faked a racist, anti-gay attack on himself in the hopes that the attention would advance his acting career. The “Empire” star still says he was assaulted by two men late at night in downtown Chicago.
But with little explanation, authorities on Tuesday abruptly dropped all charges against Smollett. They abandoned the criminal case after only five weeks. In return, prosecutor say, the actor agreed to let the city keep his $10,000 in bail.
The dismissal drew a backlash from the mayor and police chief. It also raised the question of why Smollett was not forced to admit any wrongdoing.
Among those sure to keep pressing for answers is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He appeared blindsided by the decision and visibly angry. He called it “a whitewash.”
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