Rep. Maxine Waters said she’s happy the charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and hopes the “Empire” star can continue his career despite sparking national outrage for allegedly perpetrating a race hoax.
“It’s the correct thing that the charges were dropped,” Ms. Waters, a California Democrat, told “Extra” at the NAACP Image Awards.
“First of all, we probably will never know all of the details,” she said. “We’ve heard a lot of information. No one was hurt — that is, physically, killed, shot — he never committed a crime before, he forfeited the bail and it’s this kind of situation where they close the case all over the country every day.”
Ms. Waters, who was honored at the 50th-anniversary event with the Chairman’s Award, claimed that cases like Mr. Smollett’s aren’t unusual but that his sparked so much attention because he’s a celebrity. Mr. Smollett, who was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, did not attend Monday’s event.
“I’m hopeful that he’ll go on with his career and that he will be successful,” Ms. Waters said. “I’d love to see him. I am looking forward to seeing him very soon.”
Mr. Smollett was accused of filing a false report after he told Chicago police in January that he was viciously attacked on the street by two Trump supporters. Police said the actor allegedly paid two Nigerian-American brothers to stage a fake hate crime assault on him because he was dissatisfied with his salary on “Empire.”
In a controversial decision last week, prosecutors dropped the charges against Mr. Smollett in return for community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.
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