Actor Jussie Smollett’s willingness to fork over his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago Law Department was a key factor behind prosecutors’ decision Tuesday to drop all charges accusing him of staging a fake hate-crime against himself.
“There would be no nolle without the forfeiture,” Kiera Ellis, a spokesperson for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Sun-Times reported that “nolle” is a reference to the Latin phrase “nolle prosequi,” which means “to refuse to pursue.”
Smollett had previously claimed that two individuals wearing “Make America Great Again” hats attacked him on the street with a chemical substance and a noose.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday it dropped the all charges “(a)fter 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.”
Judge Steven Watkins ordered Smollett’s court file to be sealed immediately after the charges were dropped, according to the Chicago Tribune.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats was the prosecutor who reportedly made the final decision to drop Smollett’s charges.
Magats did stress that he still stood behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation.
“We stand behind the CPD investigation done in this case, we stand behind the approval of charges in this case,” Magats told the Sun-Times.
“They did a fantastic job. The fact there was an alternative disposition in this case is not and should not be viewed as some kind of admission there was something wrong with the case, or something wrong with the investigation that the Chicago Police did.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the case against Smollett was “rock solid,” was reportedly “furious” after learning of the decision to drop the actor’s charges during a police academy graduation ceremony.
The abrupt decision to drop all charges against Smollett was “a kick in the gut,” said Ed Wodnicki, the police commander who oversaw the investigation into the actor.
“We wasted time and effort on a reported serious, serious crime, to get to the point that it’s a lie? I want reimbursement. I’m a citizen in the city of Chicago. I want my money back,” Wodnicki said, noting that the $10,000 bond that Smollett forfeited “doesn’t come close” to the cost incurred to investigate the case.
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