Jussie Smollett’s lawyers have claimed the actor has been “betrayed” by the legal system following his arrest.
The Empire star turned himself into the authorities and was arrested on Thursday after he was slapped with a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report and orchestrating the hate crime which took place outside his Chicago, Illinois apartment on 29 January.
After his arrest, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed during a press conference that the 36-year-old hired brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to help him stage the attack to help him boost his career and salary.
Smollett’s lawyers have continued to maintain his innocence, insisting that he was genuinely beaten up by two masked white men who poured a bleach-like liquid on him and tied a noose rope around his neck while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
On Thursday, they issued a new statement to Fox News in which they criticized the Chicago PD for their handling of the case.
“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,” his team said. “Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
They added that the nation has “witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.”
After a hearing on Thursday, the Independence Day: Resurgence star posted $100,000 bail and went back to work on Empire.
According to TMZ.com, he reportedly issued an apology to his co-stars, saying, “I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”
Executives behind the Fox TV show are still considering how to proceed due to his legal drama, while a representative for HarperCollins told The Blast they would continue publishing The Family Table: Recipes and Moments from a Nomadic Life, the 2018 cookbook by the Smollett family.