Following the shocking news on Tuesday that former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s attack hoax charges had been dropped, the show's network issued a statement about the star and the day's stunning proceedings.
"Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement.
As previously reported, the Smollett's role had been cut from the final two episodes of Season 5. His future on the series beyond that remains a question now that Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it will not prosecute the 16 disorderly conduct charges stemming from the alleged incident, for which his record is expected to be expunged.
Speaking outside the courthouse just after the news the charges would be dropped was announced, Smollett said he had never wavered from the truth.
"I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’m accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life," he said. "But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this, I just wouldn’t."
Smollett claimed in January that two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, beat him, made several racist and homophobic comments as well as yelled “This is MAGA country” before fleeing the scene.
However, the Chicago Police Department alleged that Smollett paid the two men, Abel and Ola Osundairo, by check for a "phony attack" in order to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
The brothers were allegedly caught on surveillance footage purchasing the rope used in the staged "attack" on Smollett. The “Empire” actor was arrested and released on $100,000 bond. He later pleaded not guilty to all counts.