SMOLLETT PROSECUTOR: ‘THIS WAS NOT AN EXONERATION’
CHICAGO (AP) – Prosecutors say a stunning decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) doesn’t mean they no longer believe he staged a racial and homophobic attack against himself in January. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters Tuesday that he still believes Smollett filed a false police report. He says prosecutors “stand behind the investigation and the facts.” He added that “this was not an exoneration.” A minimum requirement for the dropping of charges is typically that a defendant accepts some responsibility and offer an apology. But speaking after prosecutors told a judge they were dropping all charges, Smollett conceded nothing and did not apologize. He insisted he’d been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
SMOLLETT PROSECUTORS WANT TO FOCUS ON VIOLENCE
CHICAGO (AP) – Prosecutors say one of the reasons they decided to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) was because they want to focus resources on the city’s gun violence. Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told WLS-TV on Tuesday that prosecutors want to combat “violent crime, gun crime and the drivers of violence.” His comments came after prosecutors dropped felony charges accusing Smollett of falsely telling police he was attacked. Magats says Smollett faced accountability by doing community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond payment. Magats called it a fair and just outcome. He says he doesn’t regret charging Smollett because “it was the right thing to do then.” Smollett isn’t backtracking from his account of being attacked. He insists he’s been “truthful and consistent.”
SMOLLETT’S FAMILY GRATEFUL CHARGES WERE DROPPED
CHICAGO (AP) – The family of Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) says they feel grateful after charges were dropped against the “Empire” actor. His family said in a statement Tuesday that Smollett’s character was “unjustly smeared” and the “truth prevailed” shortly after prosecutors dropped felony charges against him during a Chicago court hearing. The actor had been charged with falsely telling police he was attacked in the downtown area in January. Smollett’s family says the scrutiny he faced over the past several weeks was “heartbreaking” as many were “quick to judgment before hearing the actual truth.” The black and gay actor was accused by police and prosecutor of staging the racial and homophobic attack because he was unhappy with his pay. The family called Smollett the victim and hope the “real perpetrators” are brought to justice.
POLICE UNION OUTRAGED SMOLLETT CHARGES DROPPED
CHICAGO (AP)- Chicago’s police union is outraged but not surprised that prosecutors dropped charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’). Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Martin Preib (PRYB) said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is “not respected with police officers.” He says the union previously asked the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago to look into the Smollett case. Smollett had faced felony charges accusing him of falsely reporting to police that he was attacked in January. Police and prosecutors had said the black and gay actor staged the racial and homophobic attack because he was unhappy with his pay and to promote his career. The charges were dropped Tuesday. Foxx’s office hasn’t responded to multiple requests for details. She had recused herself in February from the case. Preib says Foxx “hasn’t worked with the police to prosecute criminals at all so this is not surprising, but it is nevertheless offensive and wrong.”
HUGH DANCY JOINS CLAIRE DANES ON FINAL ‘HOMELAND’ SEASON
NEW YORK (AP) – The final season of Showtime’s “Homeland ” will be a family project for Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy. The network announced Tuesday that Dancy has signed on as a recurring character in the upcoming eighth season of the series which stars Danes, his wife of eight years. He’ll play a political consultant hired by the White House specializing in foreign policy. He’s described as an adversary to Mandy Patinkin’s character, who serves as National Security Adviser. Danes’ portrayal of a bipolar CIA agent obsessed with her job has earned her two Emmys and two Golden Globe awards. The series has also won a Golden Globe for best drama television series. Dancy and Danes have two sons. “Homeland” will return later this year.
STRONG OPENING WEEK FOR CBS, TURNER WITH NCAA HOOPS TOURNEY
NEW YORK (AP) – One week into March Madness, CBS is feeling good. Based on ratings from the nation’s largest media markets, the Nielsen company says CBS and the Turner Networks had the second best performance over the last 29 years for the first four games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The only year to do better was 2015. Nielsen did not have exact viewership numbers, but Duke’s close call Sunday against Central Florida was particularly popular. In an otherwise quiet week for prime-time television, CBS’ “60 Minutes” was the only show to top 10 million viewers.
For the week of March 18-24, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.25 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 9.88 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 8.46 million; “This is Us,” NBC, 7.65 million; “God Friended Me,” CBS, 7.53 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 7.16 million; “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 7.08 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 7.06 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 7 million; NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney: Minnesota vs. Michigan St., CBS, 6.49 million.