Prosecutor Still Believes Jussie Smollett Is Guilty Despite Dropped Charges

Meaghan Darwish
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

On Tuesday, spectators were stunned to hear that Empire star Jussie Smollett had 16 felony charges against him dropped. But the dropped charges don't mean he's guiltless in the prosecutor's eyes.

The actor had initially been charged because it was believed that he lied about being the victim of a hate crime on the streets of Chicago. Back in January, Smollett claimed that he had been attacked by two men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, tied a noose around his neck, and poured an unidentified liquid on him.

Chicago Police & Mayor Slam Decision to Drop Jussie Smollett Charges (VIDEO)

Chicago Police & Mayor Slam Decision to Drop Jussie Smollett Charges (VIDEO)

'This is a whitewash of justice,' mayor Rahm Emanuel said of the dropped charges.

In the weeks following the supposed attack, suspicion mounted against Smollett, and the Chicago police concluded that he fabricated the story in order to bolster his career. The 16 felony counts followed the police's investigation, but a lack of sufficient evidence essentially forced the case against Smollett to fall apart.

Since the charges were dropped, state prosecutor Joe Magats has spoken out on the case. When he was asked by CBS News if he believed Smollett was guilty, Magats simply answered, "yes."

'Empire' Returns With a Tearful Jussie Smollett & Twitter Has Strong Feelings

'Empire' Returns With a Tearful Jussie Smollett & Twitter Has Strong Feelings

Plus, the EP of the Fox series sounds off on Smollett's future with the show.

Magats further explained why Smollett's charges were dropped in this particular case. "Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence," he told CBS News. "Jussie Smollett is neither one of those."

Not everyone is feeling that Smollett is being punished properly though — the actor will serve community service and surrendered his $10,000 bond. Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the police are notably upset over what they describe as a "whitewash of justice."

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Counts in Alleged Attack Hoax

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Counts in Alleged Attack Hoax

The actor is being charged for allegedly filing a false report about a hate crime.

Smollett's Empire costar Taraji P. Henson, on the other hand, is thrilled for Smollett over the dropped charges. "I'm happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along," Henson told USA Today. "We're all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed."

Henson, who plays Smollett's onscreen mother Cookie Lyon, never lost faith in the actor. "Those little clickbait [reports] weren't enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he's a giver — he's not an attention-seeker."

Chuck Hodes/FOX

"When I know someone, there's nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that's what we miss in this world," she continued. "We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?"

No news about Smollett's future with the show has been discussed publicly at this time.