Following Jussie Smollett’s arrest and the subsequent press conference by the Chicago Police Department led by Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki, we’re hearing from the Empire actor’s legal team.
“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing,” read a statement released on behalf of Smollett, obtained via Deadline.
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” the statement continued, which was sent on Thursday evening. “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election.”
Additionally, Smollett reportedly met with his fellow actors on Empire to apologize for the embarrassment caused by this investigation, but maintained his innocence, according to a source present at the meeting who then informed CNN.
Smollett, who was charged by prosecutors Disorderly Conduct-False Report (a Class 4 Felony), attended his bond hearing on Thursday, which was set for a total of $100,000. He was ordered to pay $10,000 that day. The bond proffer laid out the evidence obtained in the investigation per NBC Chicago, including text exchanges beginning on January 25, 2019, following a planned trip for Abel Osundairo to travel to Chicago from Nigeria. Abel’s brother, Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo allegedly helped planned the trip two months prior.
After Abel’s trip was confirmed, an alleged text from Smollett read, “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?”
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) released a statement on the matter noting, “I remain baffled that he would stoop to such a low level and he should be ashamed of himself for this selfish and immoral act.”
Smollett faces up to 3 years in prison.