UPDATE 3/26/2019 1:10 p.m. ET: Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, the studio behind Empire, responded on Tuesday to the news that all charges against actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped, saying in a statement, "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."
UPDATE 3/26/2019 12:45 p.m. ET: After appearing in court on Tuesday morning, Jussie Smollett delivered a statement to the media thanking his supporters and maintaining his honesty.
"I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," Smollett said. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time — honestly, one of the worst of my entire life. 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."
"I'd like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life," the Empire star continued. "But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."
3/26/2019 12:07 p.m. ET: Jussie Smollett has been cleared of all charges against him.
The Empire star's attorneys, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, released a statement to the media on Tuesday, saying, "Today, all criminal charges against Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He 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 judgment."
The statement continued, "Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result."
Earlier this month, Smollett was charged with 16 felonies — including disorderly conduct and filing a false police report — for allegedly perpetrating a hate crime hoax. Smollett had previously claimed he was attacked in January by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and doused him with a chemical substance. His attorneys denied that Smollett had played any role in orchestrating the attack.
Charges against Jussie Smollett have been dropped by the state and his record has been wiped clean. pic.twitter.com/lHpLvBGc3S— 𝕊𝕥𝕖𝕡𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕚𝕖 𝕎𝕒𝕤𝕙 (@WashNews) March 26, 2019
Smollett was cut from Empire's final two Season 5 episodes as a result of the controversy surrounding his story, but he has continued to maintain his innocence. The actor pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
In a statement, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office addressed the decision to drop the charges, saying, "After reviewing all 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, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case."
Representatives for Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, the studio behind Empire, declined to comment on this story.