(CHICAGO) — When news broke of the alleged racist attack on a star from one of the most popular shows on television, it riveted everyone, drawing the nation into a heated discussion about race, politics and celebrity.
But as the investigation continued, growing skepticism about Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s story added enormous pressure on Chicago investigators to get to the bottom of what really happened the night he reported being the victim of a street attack.
On Tuesday, Smollett attended an emergency hearing with his lawyer during which all charges against him were dropped, according to the defense attorneys — a confounding end to one of the most bizarre and baffling alleged criminal attacks involving a Hollywood star in recent American history.
The suggestion by Chicago police officials that the incident was a hoax infuriated investigators and much of America, devastated Smollett’s fans and the various civil rights groups that publicly rushed to his defense — and nearly destroyed the promising young career of a man previously seen as a cultural role model representing a new generation of inclusion, diversity and tolerance.
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