The decision of Chicago prosecutors to drop 16 charges against actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist attack on himself, has been widely criticized, including by the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, who called the decision a “whitewash of justice.”
Emanuel added that the $10,000 bond forfeited by Smollett “doesn’t even come close to what the city spent in resources to actually look over the cameras, go through data, gather all the information that actually brought the indictment by the grand jury.”
Now, CBS News reports, Emanuel is looking at suing Smollett to recoup some of that cash, although legal experts said his chances of success were slim.
And, despite an initial show of support from some of his colleagues on the show Empire, signs are that many of the cast and crew still feel deeply uneasy about being associated with Smollett.
Quoting “production sources,” TMZ says that while “there are still people on the set, especially writers, who believe the dismissal of charges is a vindication, proving Jussie was a victim… there are a number of people on the Empire set who share the view that Jussie staged the attack and are shocked by the lack of consequences, and don’t want him back on the show.”
The state’s attorney made it clear that the dropping of charges did “not exonerate” Smollett.
Those cast and crew not on Smollett’s side are said by TMZ to be “especially offended Jussie allegedly faked the attack to squeeze more money out of producers.”
The show itself now looks set to go on, but it is hard to see a path back to it for Smollett, despite his legal victory.
The decision not to proceed with charges has been ridiculed and mocked on social media.
Smollett’s future will be even less bright if an FBI investigation into a hateful letter, purported to have been sent to Smollett eight days before the alleged attack, results in federal charges.
Page Six reports that the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are continuing their probe into the threatening letter. ABC says the dismissal of the state’s case has not affected the federal probe.