President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI will review the “outrageous” Jussie Smollett case after prosecutors dropped 16 counts of disorderly conduct against the “Empire” actor.
“FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!” Trump tweeted.
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
On Jan. 29 in Chicago, Smollett reported to police that he had been physically and verbally attacked by two men in an alleged homophobic and racist hate crime. Smollett also claimed that his attackers yelled “MAGA country,” in addition to racist and homophobic slurs.
Chicago police say that Smollett hired brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo to stage the attack in an effort to increase his salary on “Empire.” The police also claimed that a homophobic and racist letter sent to the studio where “Empire” films, and addressed to Smollett, was sent by Smollett himself. The FBI say the letter is still under investigation.
In February, prosecutors indicted Smollett on one felony count for filing a false police report. In March, a grand jury indicted him on an additional 15 charges for a total of 16 counts.
The Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped all charges citing Smollett’s community service as a factor. Smollett also agreed to let the city of Chicago keep his $10,000 bail.
Joe Magats, the top deputy for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told the New York Times that Smollett was not exonerated but the actor wasn’t seen as a priority.
“Here’s the thing: We work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime,” Magats told the New York Times. “Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel slammed the decision calling it “a whitewash of justice.”
Smollett maintains his innocence. His attorneys released a statement saying, “He [Smollett] was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.”