All charges against Jussie Smollett for allegedly faking a racist and homophobic attack were dropped on Tuesday, but that does not mean the saga is over. This unexpected position the Cook's County prosecutors have taken about charges against the Empire actor has prompted confusion from the public, who now don't know what to believe — and apparently, that includes Donald Trump. The President tweeted on Thursday morning that the FBI and the Department Of Justice are reviewing the case.
"FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago," he wrote. "It is an embarrassment to our Nation!"
On January 29, Smollett claimed that two perpetrators yelled racial and homophobic slurs before beating and pouring a chemical on him. Chicago police instead determined the two alleged perpetrators were accomplices in what they say was a staged attack.
Smollett maintained his innocence and his legal team sees the dropped charges as a victory.
“It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie — owe him an apology — for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud," they said in a statement, according to ABC Chicago. "Jussie has paid enough."
NEW: Jussie Smollett’s legal team fires back: “It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie - owe him an apology - for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough.”— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) March 28, 2019
However, the charges being dropped does not mean Smollett has been exonerated. The decision came after the actor forfeited his $10,000 bond and completed community service, which Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx told NPR is not uncommon for this type of felony.
"I think when you look at other Class 4 felonies, I think when you look at other disorderly conduct, and you ask, 'Have we done this before?' — I think the data will shed some clarity on that," she said.
Much of the confusion comes from the public not knowing if Smollett is innocent or guilty, since the dropped charges mean this case won't be taken to court. While Smollett's family previously said "truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated," Foxx wasn't so certain.
"What I can tell you is that most people who come through the criminal justice system don't give up $10,000 of their hard-earned money or engage in volunteer services connected with an alleged offense without viewing that as a way of being held accountable," she told NPR.
The FBI and DOJ did not immediately return Refinery29's request for comment.