There are new twists in the Jussie Smollett investigation after prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against the star yesterday.
The “Empire” actor was accused of paying two brothers to stage an attack on himself in January, then lying to police about it. He had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, and yesterday insisted, “I have been truthful and consistent on every level from day one.”
Still, questions remain. Did he get the star treatment? Could he face new, federal charges related to a threatening letter he says he received in the mail? Is he days away from taking home an award for his work on “Empire”?
Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke out on “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning, saying, "He's an actor, a person of influence. He got treated differently than everyone else.”
Emanuel said, “Let’s get to the bottom of this,” adding that he wants the police records unsealed. "He's saying he's innocent and his words aren't true. They better get their story straight. This is actually making a fool of all of us."
Smollett's attorney, Tina Glandian of Geragos & Geragos, pushed back, telling “GMA” of the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office, "I think if they believed the charges, they never would have dismissed the case. I'm saying their actions speak louder than words. They could have proceeded in a variety of ways. We were ready to move forward. We appeared in court and pled not guilty. We were ready to fight the charges and they're the ones who voluntarily discontinued the matter, so I think that speaks volumes."
Meanwhile, Jussie could still face some legal action. The FBI is investigating whether he sent himself a threatening letter prior to the alleged attack. He has denied sending the note.
In other news, Smollett could be hitting the red carpet on Saturday at the NAACP Awards. The star is up for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama for his work on “Empire.”
Jussie will appear in tonight's episode of "Empire," and we are asking our Twitter followers if they think he should return to the show next season. What do you think? Vote here.