Jussie Smollett’s ‘volunteer service’ with Jesse Jackson Sr.’s nonprofit group on Saturday and Monday helped convince prosecutors on Tuesday to drop all charges against the “Empire” actor for allegedly staging a fake hate-crime against himself.
“The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped,” the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Empire” actor Smollett, 36, faced 16 charges for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that two individuals wearing “Make America Great Again” hats attacked him on the street with a chemical substance and a noose.
The attorney’s office provided a letter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition which stated that Smollett spent “several hours volunteering” over the course of two days at the nonprofit group’s store, where he “met with staff and gave his suggestions” as to how to market its products to a younger demographic.
The letter also stated the “Empire” actor spent “a significant part of his time” reviewing the group’s weekly broadcast and “encouraging” the production crew.
“The final areas of service were meetings with our membership staff and our social media director,” the letter stated. “His suggestions and assistance in responding to some of our concerns were quite helpful.”
The letter appeared to have been signed by Jesse Jackson Sr., the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Smollett racked up a total of 18 hours of community service with the nonprofit group, TMZ reported.
The attorney’s office also provided TheDCNF with a letter from “Empire” music director Rich Daniels, who highlighted Smollett’s work with non-profit groups outside working hours.
Among the highlights was Smollett’s visit to a Chicago-based African-American arts school in January, where Daniels said the celebrity’s surprise visit inspired joy in children and faculty alike.
“The reaction Jussie received was nothing short of inspiring as the children squealed with joy when he surprised them in their classrooms and the faculty and staff were no different,” Daniels wrote. “It was both a memorable afternoon and the beginning of what will hopefully be a significant relationship with Jussie and this program.”
Smollett also donated his “time and talent” for the taping of the “Chicago Voices” concert on PBS, according to Daniels.
“Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich indicated in his review of the national broadcast that the performance with Jussie was the highlight of the program,” Daniels wrote.
Daniels also said Smollett “would perform at the national conference of The Kennedy Forum in Chicago”, attended a single meeting with the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and appeared at a concert promoting “sound mental health” at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Also key to Smollett’s charges being dropped was his willingness to fork over his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago Law Department.
“There would be no nolle without the forfeiture,” Kiera Ellis, a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported that “nolle” is a reference to the Latin phrase “nolle prosequi,” which means “to refuse to pursue.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the case against Smollett was “rock solid,” was reportedly “furious” after learning of the decision to drop the actor’s charges during a police academy graduation ceremony.
The attorney’s office told TheDCNF that its decision to drop Smollett’s charges does not exonerate the actor.
“We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett,” the attorney’s office said in a statement.
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