“We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped. The facts are clear. The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights," Brown-Holmes told Fox News in a statement.
"Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Mr. Smollett is entitled to the same Constitutional protections as any citizen charged by the government with a crime — including the right to speak freely about his innocence, the right to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and the right to hold the State to its burden of proving him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. None of that has occurred in this case," the statement continued.
"We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office, state and local law, Supreme Court rules on trial publicity as well as the rules of professional responsibility for lawyers and prosecutors. We will not try this case in a court of public opinion," she added. "There is no case to try. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”
Brown-Holmes also claimed that the Cook County State Attorney's Office flip-flopped on its stance on Smollett's guilt, noting that Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said in court that Smollett's community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago justified the nolle pros ruling, only to later release a statement saying that the dismissal of his charges was not an exoneration.
Smollett's defense attorney also blasted First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats for saying that, despite the dismissal of the charges, he still believed Smollett filed a false police report. He said prosecutors "stand behind the investigation and the facts ... this was not an exoneration." Brown-Holmes took issue with Magats' interview with CBS News, where Magats said once again that he believed Smollett was guilty of filing a false police report "based on all the facts and circumstances, based on his lack of criminal background, we defer or do alternative prosecutions."
Brown-Holmes said in a press conference when Smollett's charges were dismissed that his ruling was not a deferred prosecution, to the ire of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called the dismissal a "whitewash of justice." Emanuel is reportedly considering suing Smollett to recoup money the city of Chicago spent to investigate the alleged attack.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was furious with the dismissal and said Smollett owed the city an apology, while other Chicago law enforcement sources previously told Fox News they were displeased with the wasted man-hours on the case.
Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at approximately 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. The actor said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" — during an attack that lasted less than a minute.
Police later determined the masked men were brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, and they were identified by cops as being the men seen on surveillance video buying ski masks and the rope that was hung around Smollett's neck during the alleged attack. Johnson told press at the time that the Osundairo brothers were cooperating with authorities and the investigation was pivoting from a hate crime investigation into a case of false reporting — turning Smollett from a victim to a suspect to a defendant in the process.
Smollett and his attorneys have maintained his innocence. Before his charges were dismissed on Tuesday, Smollett had pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.