Jussie Smollett was spotted at the airport in Chicago, ready to leave behind a city torn by a case that has rocked the nation since earlier this year.
The Empire actor, who saw all his charges dropped by prosecutors on Tuesday, was seen at O’Hare International Airport as he prepared to leave the city on the same day that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx spoke out about her office’s decision to dismiss all 16 charges against him. While there’s been increasing scrutiny surrounding how Foxx dealt with the case, she stood by the decision to let Smollett walk away freely from his accusations after completing community service and agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bond.
The Hollywood star was initially charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct by prosecutors after the Chicago Police Department accused him of orchestrating his own attack, which he always claimed he did not do. However, he was given an additional 15 charges by a grand jury, and if convicted, he would have faced up to 48 years in prison. But during her interviews, Foxx said the idea of him getting any jail time was an unlikely result, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“Right now, there’s a lot of emotion. And I wholeheartedly believe that in our work we cannot be driven by emotions. We have to be driven by facts. For people who are in the weeds of this, we recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a prison sentence for a Class 4 felony is slim,” she told local radio station WBEZ.
“No two cases are the same… this is not what it looks like on Law & Order, right?”
“Do you consider him guilty?” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is questioned by ABC 7 Chicago on why the charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett. She hesitates to answer. It was revealed through a FOIA that she privately communicated w/his friend & family. pic.twitter.com/VfeJPHazqQ— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) March 28, 2019
Foxx had recused herself from the case due to the fact that she exchanged messages with some of the actor’s family members, leaving it to her assistant, Joseph Magats, to handle the situation. Still, it appears that the case is far from over, as it’s been reported that the FBI is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of all of Smollett’s charges.
Officials have been criticized by how they managed the case, facing claims that Smollett was given the “star treatment” from the beginning, that he was never handcuffed, and that he was even held in a private prison cell. Members of the Chicago PD and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been some of the most outspoken critics, calling the decision a “whitewash of justice,” as per The Daily Mail.
Smollett’s lawyer, Patricia Holmes, said in a statement that her client was part of a grueling victim-blaming campaign, and that “no public official” had the right to violate his due process rights.
An actor who said he was the victim of a bizarre hate crime. A furious mayor who insisted it was all a hoax, nothing more than a desperate grab for money and fame. And a prosecutor who shocked everyone by dropping the case. https://t.co/HI21hmITB7— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) March 28, 2019
Cory Booker on the Jussie Smollett case: "I don't know all the details... What we've got to know is that this is happening in a larger context where hate crimes in this country are on a rise, where white supremacist violence is on the rise" #BookerTownHall https://t.co/ImVpNAcLHG pic.twitter.com/GRpQvzHapJ— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2019
“The case is closed. We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenets of their office. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen,” the attorney said.