Jussie Smollett’s legal team issued a defiant statement on Thursday night, saying the “Empire” actor feels betrayed by the justice system and hinting at a political motive for his prosecution.
Smollett was arrested early Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. He was released after a court hearing on $100,000 bond, walking past a scrum of cameras as he returned to the set of “Empire.”
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. 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. 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.”
Smollett could face one to three years in prison if convicted of staging a hate attack on himself on Jan. 29. Police claim that he paid two brothers $3,500 to attack him, pour bleach on him, and put a rope around his neck. Fox has issued several statements in support of the actor, and he resumed work on “Empire” Thursday despite reports that the network was considering suspending him.