CHICAGO (CBS)– The prosecutor who decided to drop the charges against Jussie Smollett said he believes the move does not vindicate the “Empire” actor of allegations that he orchestrated a racist and homophobic attack against himself.
“I do not believe he is innocent,” First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats said Tuesday afternoon.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had recused herself from the case, so Magats, a 28-year veteran prosecutor, had been the lead prosecutor on the case.
“Based on all facts and circumstances of the case, and also keeping in mind resources and keeping in mind that the office’s number one priority is to combat violent crime and the drivers of violence, I decided to offer this disposition in the case,” Magats said.
When asked who made the call to drop the charges, Magats said “I did.” When asked if Foxx had anything to do with the decision, Magats said “she did not.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier called the decision a “whitewash of justice.” The mayor essentially accused prosecutors of giving Smollett special treatment because of his status as a celebrity.
Magats denied the mayor’s claim.
“Not true, it’s just not,” he said. “It’s not a whitewash, he did community service, he has forfeited his bond, it’s just not a whitewash.”
Magats said Smollett did community service with Rainbow PUSH coalition since being indicted. Magats said this was a factor in his decision.
A Rainbow PUSH coalition spokesman said Smollett performed a total of 16 hours of service over two days.
On Tuesday, Cook County prosecutors agreed to drop the charges against Smollett at an unscheduled hearing in the case. Smollett will forfeit the $10,000 bail he posted after his arrest.
Smollett spoke to the media shortly after the hearing Tuesday, where prosecutors dropped the case.
“I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain, 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 was accused of.”