A source tells Us Weekly that “there is an active federal investigation” into how Smollett, 36, “received an unusually favorable plea deal. Basically, there is a probe to decide whether or not foul play was involved in his bargain with prosecutors.” ABC7 also confirmed the inquiry.
The Empire star’s case took a surprising turn on Tuesday, March 26, when all 16 felony counts against him were dropped by Cook County, Illinois, prosecutors. “He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment,” his lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, said in a statement to Us, adding: “Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”
In January, Smollett alleged that he was subjected to a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago. He was later arrested for allegedly staging the ordeal and indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report. The singer vehemently denied the allegations against him.
The Alien: Covenant actor claimed in a Tuesday press conference that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
Smollett added: “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life, but I am a man of faith and a man of knowledge of history and I wouldn’t bring my family through this, I just wouldn’t.”
Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe were among the Empire cast members who supported their costar. “I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free because I knew it all along,” the Hidden Figures star, 48, told USA Today. “We’re all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed.”