Chicago (CBS) — Just a day after all the charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett were dropped, his legal team wants the case sealed. They plan to file a motion for expungement Wednesday.
CBS News is reporting that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering suing Smollett to get back some of the money spent on the investigation, but the prosecutor behind the case says it made legal sense to drop the charges.
“We dropped all charges based on the fact that he did community service and that he forfeited his bail,” said First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats.
That’s all Magats would say as to why he made the decision to drop all 16 counts against Smollett. Smollett was accused of hiring brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — to stage a racist and homophobic attack.
The brothers have cut ties with their lawyer Gloria Schmidt.
Magats also said dropping the charges does not vindicate or exonerate Smollett.
“I do not believe he’s innocent,” Magats said.
Smollett spoke to the media in the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after the charges were dropped Tuesday.
“I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of,” the actor said.
While Smollett had to forfeit the $10,000 bond he paid, the amount is 15 times less than the estimated $150,000 spent on the investigation. That means taxpayers are still on the hook for hundreds of hours of police manpower. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is anything but satisfied.
“On financial costs, this $10,000 doesn’t even come close to what the city spent in resources to actually look over the cameras, gather all the data, go through the information that actually brought the indictment by the grand jury,” Emanuel said.
He said Tuesday’s decision leads to a lack of accountability.
“This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power, you’ll be treated one way. Other people will be treated another way,” Emanuel said.
CBS 2’s legal analyst Irv Miller said Smollett walking away without any charges is extremely unusual.
“This is as bizarre as they come. I’ve been practicing criminal law in this county as a prosecutor and a defense attorney since 1976. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Miller said.
Miller said this is probably the end of the criminal action against Smollett but that the city could sue the actor civilly for restitution of the time police spent on the case.
“They’d have a tough time because [Smollett]’s still saying ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,'” Miller said.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said he does not believe justice was served.
“You take your day in court. I would never, if someone falsely accused me, I would never hide behind a brokered deal,” Johnson said.
Smollett is said to have volunteered 16 hours at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, meeting with student groups to talk about racial issues.
“Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence,” Magats said. “Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”