(CHICAGO) — The prosecutor who dropped the charges against Jussie Smollett told ABC News affiliate WLS that he still believes the Empire star’s story about being attacked was a hoax, but decided to drop the charges anyway.
“We stand behind the investigation and the facts revealed,” said Joe Magats, the first assistant state attorney. He took over the case when his superior, State Attorney Kim Foxx, recused herself after it was revealed that she’d been in contact with Smollett’s family.
“We believe he did was he was charged with what he was doing,” said Magats.
Asked directly whether he believes Smollett fabricated the incident, he replied, “Yes.”
Magats added, “This was not an exoneration. To say that he was exonerated by us or anyone is not true.”
As to why he made the decision, Magats said, “Our goal and our #1 priority is combating violent crime and the drivers of violence and we look to our resources to do that, and I don’t think that Mr. Smollett is a driver of violence or a violent individual.”
He added that he felt it was enough that Smollett forfeiting $10,000 — the 10 percent of his $100K bond — and completed community service.
Said Magats, “In return for forfeiting his bond to the City of Chicago and doing his community service, we agreed to dismiss the charges against him. He did community service for Operation Push.”
21st Century Fox – which produces Empire – is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.
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