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Jussie Smollett Criminal Case Dropped!!! Mayor Calls It a 'Whitewash of Justice'

3/26/2019 1:06 PM PDT

1:05 PM PT -- First Assistant to the Cook County State Attorney Joseph Magats -- who replaced Kim Foxx when she recused herself -- says they dropped the charges because Smollett doesn't have a violent criminal history, and lying about the alleged attack was not a violent crime.

Magats says his office prioritizes violent crimes in Chicago, and felt this case wouldn't be the best use of resources. For the record, he says he made this decision alone ... without consultation from Foxx.

He also squarely says he believes Jussie DID concoct a hoax and lied about it to police. Even though Chicago PD and Mayor Emanuel ripped the State's Attorney's Office ... Magats made it clear he stands by the findings of the cops, and believes they had the evidence to get a conviction. 

The obvious question is asked ... why take the case to a grand jury, only to drop the charges? Check out Magats' answer -- a lot of people, and not just Chicago PD, won't buy what he's selling here.

BTW, Magats says discussions have been going on for weeks with Jussie's camp ... about dropping the charges, and his community service. All of which must have been done in total secrecy because we know cops, the Mayor and others involved in the case had no clue this was going to happen.

10:45 AM PT -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel is very strongly hinting at corruption in the State's Attorney's Office, calling the decision to drop the charges against Smollett a "whitewash of justice."

The Mayor added, "From top to bottom, this is not on the level." He called for accountability from the prosecutors.

Emanuel was joined by Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson who said he didn't feel justice was served by letting Smollett off the hook.

What's more, Johnson said if Jussie was, in fact, innocent ... he should've taken his day in court, and not broker a backdoor deal in secrecy. Bigger picture -- Johnson feels the City of Chicago is still owed an apology, as he believes Jussie carried out a hoax.

10:15 AM PT -- FOX says, "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."

As for WHY they were dropped -- you'll recall State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case. She reportedly had asked cops to stand down at the behest of Tina Tchen -- Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff and a friend of Jussie's family. The conflict forced Foxx to bow out.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office tells us the decision to drop all charges against Jussie was made by Joseph Magats -- the First Assistant State's Attorney -- who was placed in charge of the case after Foxx's recusal, and NOT by Foxx. 

It's still odd. Sources tell TMZ the prosecutor in the case, as late as Friday afternoon, was making plans to handle issues involving cameras in the courtroom for the trial ... and seemed completely unaware of plans to drop the case.

9:22 AM PT -- Jussie and his lawyer, Patricia Holmes, just addressed the media, and the takeaway message was simple ... he's happy and wants to get on with his life. Holmes reiterated this was not a deal Jussie struck with prosecutors -- instead, they dropped the charges on their own, and he forfeited his bond voluntarily ... it wasn't a tit-for-tat situation.

Jussie thanked everyone who supported him through this case, and maintained he'd been truthful and consistent throughout the case. He added ... that he would never put the LGBTQ movement "through a fire like this." He also thanked his "Empire" cast members for their support.

If you're wondering if things will really get back to normal for Jussie -- he stopped to take a few selfies with fans on his way out of court.

And there's this ... federal law enforcement sources tell us Jussie is still under investigation for the threatening letter -- with racist and homophobic slurs -- that was sent to him at the "Empire" studio 8 days before the alleged attack.

You'll recall ... the Chicago PD Superintendent claimed Jussie sent it to himself, but our sources say the FBI had not reached that conclusion yet.

8:45 AM PT -- Jussie's family has also released a statement celebrating the news. They state, "This morning truth has prevailed and (Jussie) has been vindicated."

They continue, "While many were quick to rush to judgement before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light. We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice."

8:35 AM PT -- State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office says, "After reviewing all of 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."

The statement is consistent with what our sources said about Jussie only getting community service if he'd been convicted. The decision is NOT sitting well with Chicago PD.

On the other hand, Jussie's co-workers on "Empire" are celebrating on Twitter.

Jussie Smollett will not be prosecuted for allegedly faking a racial attack, because all charges have been dropped!!!

Jussie and his lawyers ran to court Tuesday morning in Chicago, where he was facing 16 felony counts of lying to police in the alleged racial and homophobic attack.  

Jussie will surrender his $10,000 bond. But, that's it. The case is over.

We're told the State's Attorney, Kim Foxx, told Chicago police she was dropping the case because Jussie would have only gotten community service if convicted and she said he has already performed community service so there is no point in prosecuting him. We could not find any record of Smollett doing community service.

We're told Chicago police are "furious" and feel something untoward is going on with Kim Foxx.   

Jussie's lawyers say, "Today, all criminal charges against Jussie 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 lawyers go on ... "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."

A source close to Jussie says the prosecution's case "disintegrated." As we reported, there were issues with the $3,500 check the 2 brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, received from Jussie. The Police Superintendent had said the money was payment for the fake attack, but it appears it was actually for physical training.

The Police Superintendent also said during a news conference that Jussie wrote that threatening letter 6 days before the attack when in actuality the FBI had not concluded who wrote the letter. 

Originally Published -- 8:11 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Allies Asked SA Kim Foxx to Intervene Leaked Texts, Emails Show

3/26/2019 12:09 PM PDT

Jussie Smollett had pals of his in the Cook County State's Attorney's ear early on in his case -- and, based on leaked correspondence, it looks like she acted on his behalf.

Texts and emails between State Attorney Kim Foxx and two Jussie allies -- one of which is reported to be a family member of his -- have been leaked, and they show that Foxx was asked to intervene in the case a few days after he'd reported the alleged attack to Chicago PD. It appears that she did exactly that ... and kept Jussie's camp in the loop. 

The initial correspondence started when Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, emailed Foxx to say that she was reaching out on behalf of Jussie's family to express "concerns" they had with how the investigation at that point was being handled.

Jussie had not been charged with a crime yet, but it's believed Chicago PD was already doubting his story and leaking info to the press pushing that narrative. 

Foxx responded to Tchen on Feb. 1, saying ... "Spoke to Superintendent Johnson. I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get back to me shortly." 

The same day, an unnamed relative of Jussie's texted Foxx herself, as well, and Foxx said she was working on getting the case sent over to the FBI. The relative replied, "Omg this would a huge victory." Foxx then responded, "I make no guarantees, but I'm trying."

Later, Foxx recused herself from the case when Jussie became a suspect. And, of course, her office just announced Tuesday that it was dropping all of the charges against Jussie, after coming out strong with a 16-count indictment just weeks earlier. 

Her official reasoning for dropping the charges ... Jussie has done community service in the community, so we're good. Her office asked a judge to seal the case, and they obliged. Mayor Rahm Emanuel strongly hinted at corruption in the State's Attorney's Office.

The Chicago-Tribune first reported on the leaked texts and emails.

On the heels of all the charges being dropped against Jussie earlier Tuesday, the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago is asking the Dept. of Justice to investigate Kim Foxx and her involvement in this case.

Jussie Smollett Case Abel Keeps Winning in Boxing Ring

3/22/2019 10:46 AM PDT

Jussie Smollett's fighting to stay outta prison, but one of the brothers who allegedly helped him stage the infamous "attack" is fighting his ass off in the boxing ring -- and just rung up another W.

Abel Osundairo competed again Thursday night in the semifinals of the prestigious Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament at Cicero Stadium. He didn't score a first-round knockout like he did in the quarterfinals, but Abel still secured a unanimous decision -- and he's moving on to the finals, slated to go down next month.

After the match ... Abel was met by a horde of reporters. Abel didn't say much with his mouth but he did let his eyes do a lot of talking. Just ask this reporter who got a bit of a death stare.

Nevertheless ... Abel -- who wore a white robe with the American flag emblazoned on the back -- has proven he's got potential as a powerful southpaw. His vicious jabs set up a brutal knockdown in the first round. As we first said after his win last weekend ... pretty clear that Abel held back a LOT during the "attack."

As for Jussie's fight -- he's pled not guilty on the 16-count indictment, and is awaiting trial. 

BTW ... the Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament is arguably the most elite amateur tournament in the country. It's been around since 1923 and some of its past champions include Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Sonny Liston.

See, legit.

Jussie Smollett Abel Could've Smashed Him Up ... And Boxing Skills Prove It

3/16/2019 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The Osundairo brothers told Chicago police if they really wanted to hurt Jussie Smollett, they could've killed him ... and here's proof.  

We've obtained video of Abel Osundairo throwing haymakers Thursday night in Chicago, and you can tell the "Empire" extra is a beast in the ring. Take solace in the fact you weren't his opponent.

Remember, Abel's lawyer says Jussie told the brothers he wanted Abel to "attack" him, but not rough him up too badly. Judging by his boxing skills, Abel suppressed his true strength during the "attack." 

Abel and Jussie are on two totally different paths ... hours after Jussie strutted into a Cook County courthouse to enter a not guilty plea in his 16-count felony indictment, Abel advanced in the Chicago Golden Gloves amateur boxing tourney, with a first-round TKO in his quarterfinal match.

Dude's a beast, he's boxing in the 178-pound weight class. No wonder Jussie cut the brothers a check for a training program.

Where can we sign up?!?

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty On 16-Count Indictment

3/14/2019 8:13 AM PDT
Breaking News

8:11 AM PT -- Jussie just pled not guilty to the 16-count indictment against him. He was advised he needs to be at every court date going forward, and is set to be back in court in mid-April.

In the meantime, he'll be allowed to travel to L.A. and NY for meetings with his lawyers. He's gotta notify the court 48 hours in advance before going to either location, and also needs to check back in within 24 hours when he returns to Chicago.

Jussie Smollett just showed up to court with the same confidence he had the other day -- the big difference now ... this appearance actually matters, 'cause he's being arraigned.

The "Empire" star once again strutted his way into a Cook County courthouse Thursday with his back straight and his head held high ... just like he did on Tuesday when he showed up for a procedural hearing he technically didn't need to attend. 

He's expected to enter a plea one way or another at his arraignment. 

As we reported ... a grand jury handed down the whopping 16-count indictment last week nearly two weeks after Jussie was arrested and booked for allegedly filing a false police report. Jussie's attorney, Mark Geragos, called the indictment "overkill."

Regardless of how Jussie pleads ... he may very well have more than his own fate in his hands. Folks working on "Empire" feel like the future of the show will very much be tied to how things shake out for him in court, and could possibly torpedo the series at large.

Originally Published -- 7:26 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Struts into Court ... I'm with Geragos!!!

3/12/2019 12:32 PM PDT
Breaking News

12:32 PM PT -- The judge sided with Geragos and will allow cameras in the courtroom Thursday.

Jussie Smollett strutted confidently into a Cook County Courthouse for a hearing he did NOT have to attend.

Jussie, who's been laying low since he was arrested for filing a false police report, was rocking shades, gloves and a trench coat as he arrived Tuesday. The hearing is really for his attorney, Mark Geragos, to file the paperwork so he can rep Jussie in Illinois -- and also to determine if cameras will be allowed in court for the case.

He wasn't required to be there, but our sources say Smollett chose to attend because he intends to be an active participant in his defense ... and not just an observer. We're also told he's done hiding.

This is the first time we've seen him after the grand jury handed up the 16 count indictment last week.

After the indictment, Geragos told us, "The fact of an indictment was not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination. What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie."

Originally Published -- 9:26 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Might Have 'Empire' Fate Hanging High in the Balance

3/11/2019 5:24 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

Jussie Smollett's case could cost him way more than just his gig on "Empire" ... many on the show fear his situation could bring the whole show down in the process.

Production sources tell TMZ ... anxiety is high among the "Empire" cast and crew, because Fox has yet to renew the show for a sixth season. We're told people who've been working on the show for years are griping they should've heard the news one way or another by now, and expected to get word on the fate of the show around 2 weeks ago. 

For the record ... Fox has typically renewed the show in January ... 5 months ahead of the season finale. The exception ... this past season. Fox waited until a few weeks before the season 4 finale was set to air ... in May. 

We're told folks involved in the production feel like Jussie and his case will be a big factor in how things shake out.

As for how Jussie's character is being handled on the show now ... Lee Daniels and co. have already announced Jamal is being removed from the final two episodes of season 5, which is set to return from a hiatus on Wednesday night.  

Our sources say Jussie's character will be "out of the country."  

Here's the kicker ... our production sources tell us even if Fox does renew the show, higher-ups have expressed serious reservations about Jussie returning ... as have many folks on the cast and crew ... even some who have publicly supported him.

Jussie Smollett Brothers Confirm Check for Training ... Police Statement Called into Question

3/11/2019 10:04 AM PDT

5:41 PM PT -- The brothers' attorney is clarifying her statement from GMA ... she says, "to say the check for $3,500 was just for the incident is not a full representation of what transpired. My clients had an agreement to provide personal training services to Mr. Smollett. To say the check was also intended for a favor beyond the training is an accurate statement."

Jussie Smollett wrote that $3,500 check to the Osundairo brothers to pay for a training program -- something the brothers themselves now confirm, which essentially negates one of the strongest statements Chicago PD made about the case.

Ola and Abel Osundairo's attorney, Gloria Schmidt, spoke out on their behalf Monday on 'GMA,' confirming what TMZ first reported ... that the check was compensation for a training and nutrition program designed to get Jussie in shape for a music video shoot.

You'll recall ... during police Superintendent Eddie Johnson's news conference he said, point blank, "Smollet paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process."

So, you gotta wonder ... if the police got that detail wrong, what else did they get wrong? You can bet Smollett's attorney, Mark Geragos, will raise that issue.

Remember, this also comes on the heels of a grand jury handing up a 16-count indictment against Jussie -- where it appears they nailed the actor for EACH allegedly false statement he made during 2 police interviews. The grand jury arrived at that remarkable number -- SIXTEEN -- by following the lead of prosecutors who presented the case.

So, did law enforcement have it out for Smollett? If the case gets to trial, there's little doubt Geragos will grill the police Superintendent like a cheeseburger.

Jussie Smollett A Job Offers Story ... In 3 Acts

3/9/2019 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett's career is just like an awesome script ... complete with a major plot twist, then a climax and now the aftermath -- and it ain't pretty.

Sources familiar with Jussie's current situation tell TMZ ... he was living a pretty good Hollywood life before claiming he was viciously attacked in Chicago. He was getting entertainment biz offers every other week, if not weekly.

We're told Smollett's star actually skyrocketed right after the alleged attack was initially reported. Our sources say he was getting hit up nonstop for movies, TV gigs, commercials and, of course, interviews and appearances.

When his story went off the rails and he was arrested and charged with a felony for filing a false police report ... the well ran dry. We're told Smollett's getting zero calls for new work, and is being treated like a pariah.

Makes sense. Hollywood's waiting to see how his case plays out, but the 16-count indictment the grand jury handed up Friday can't help.  

As we reported ... "Empire" also removed Jussie's character from the final 2 episodes of the season in order to keep peace on the set ... where some of his co-stars are butting heads over whether to support him

On the bright side -- if there is one -- Chicago PD launched an internal investigation out of concerns the force was leaking information, and some of the claims by the Police Superintendent have been called into question.

That might help him in court, but it won't do jack to help him land any roles.

'Wolf of Wall Street' 4 Yrs. Sounds Right for Paul Manafort ... He's Old as Dirt!!!

3/9/2019 7:24 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Trump campaign manager-turned federal con Paul Manafort's incredibly light prison sentence isn't as outrageous as many think ... at least according to Jordan Belfort, who knows plenty about prison.

We got the real-life "Wolf of Wall Street" Friday at LAX and he weighed in on a couple of big crime and punishment stories. Jordan, who himself was sentenced to almost 4 years, says it's pretty clear Manafort caught a break because he's an old man.

As Belfort put it ... 3 years and 11 months makes sense because "how many years does he have left?"

Manafort is 69, BTW ... and could get more years tacked on next week when he's sentenced in his conspiracy case.

The 'Wolf' also has an opinion on Jussie Smollett, who just got indicted for a staggering 16 counts in Chicago. He says what the "Empire" star allegedly did is awful, but check out what kinda sentenced he'd give him.

Disorder in the court ... Judge Belfort has ruled!

Jussie Smollett 16 Count Indictment is 'Overkill' Says Attorney Mark Geragos

3/8/2019 5:30 PM PST
Exclusive Details

5:30 PM PT -- Jussie's attorney, Mark Geragos, just released a scathing response to the indictment, telling us, "The fact of an indictment was not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination. What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie."

Geragos continues, "This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records. Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption." 

2:45 PM PT -- We've now read the indictment, and it appears the grand jury hit Jussie with one count for EACH allegedly false statement he made during the 2 interviews with cops.

Jussie Smollett just got slammed by a Cook County grand jury, which has returned a 16-count felony indictment against him for filing a false police report. 

Smollett was originally charged by the State Attorney's Office with a felony of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The new indictments obviously take the case to another level.

As for why there are so many counts ... the grand jury reportedly handed up 2 sets of charges -- one for Smollett's initial report to Chicago PD, and the other charges are for Jussie's second interview with cops.

We're told Ola and Abel Osundairo told grand jurors Jussie hired them to stage the so-called "attack." The brothers were caught on camera buying a bunch of supplies before the incident ... including ski masks, gloves, bandanas, sunglasses and red hats.

Chicago PD has come out strong against Jussie ... making it clear they had a lot of issues with his version of events -- including the fact he took them to the scene and immediately pointed to a camera which he said captured the incident. Turns out, the camera was pointed in the wrong direction.

Abel and Ola told police they drove with Jussie in the days prior to the incident scouting a location and even rehearsed the "attack."  

As for the hate mail sent to Jussie at Fox Studios in Chicago ... police say they believe the "Empire" star is behind that too. However, we know the FBI hadn't confirmed that when Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted Jussie in his news conference.

We also know the brothers told police they had nothing to do with the letter, and only saw it in a photo on Jussie's phone.

Originally published -- 2:11 PM PT

Jussie Smollett Undercover in Chicago ... Grabs Dinner with Fam

3/1/2019 1:00 PM PST

Jussie Smollett's taking extreme measures to avoid being seen, but everybody's gotta eat ... so we caught a glimpse of him walking into a Chicago restaurant.

We're told Jussie arrived at Eddie V's Prime Seafood Thursday night around 9:30 in a black SUV -- very similar to the one he took from jail last week, along with some of his siblings and security.

The "Empire" star kept his head down under the hood of a large winter coat as he hustled in, and stayed about an hour.

Our sources say Jussie's been hounded by media and hasn't been able to stay at his own apartment since the mob scene last week when he was released, so he's been hunkering down at a swanky hotel.

Clearly, he's trying his best to keep a low profile.

As we reported ... Jussie's been charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in what Chicago PD's Superintendent called a "publicity stunt."

Smollett maintains he was attacked and denies orchestrating a hoax.

'LHHH' Star Milan Christopher Jussie Smollett's a Disgrace to Gay Black Men

3/1/2019 12:30 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett being attacked in a hate crime sounded fishy and far-fetched from the jump -- according to a guy who has no love for the "Empire" actor -- Milan Christopher

The ex-"Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood" star and model tells TMZ ... he believes the "Empire" star's alleged attack was an elaborate plot to grow his brand, and it's actually working -- at least on social media.

Milan -- who is gay -- says he smelled a rat from the get-go, especially because Jussie's story changed so much ... and every gay black man will now feel the consequences.

Milan is also incredulous that Jussie referred to himself as "the gay Tupac."

Christopher has obvious issues with Jussie, whom he called out earlier this week on Instagram, saying ... "let me tell y'all a little story about an evil jealous black gay man I once met."

He insinuated Jussie tried to torpedo his career and block him from scoring a role on "Empire." Milan said, "This insecure jealous queen did everything in their power to keep me from expanding my brand and having a new platform that would empower my reach & expand my 'Empire.'"

Milan later deleted the post, but judging from the video ... there's still some bad blood.

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