Jussie Smollett is maintaining his innocence.
The 35-year-old musician and actor spoke out in a new statement following his arrest on Thursday on a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. Smollett's brother, Jake, shared the statement from the Empire star's legal team on Instagram on Thursday evening, after he had posted bond.
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system," the statement reads. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election."
"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity, who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement added.
In a press conference held shortly after his arrest, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Eddie T. Johnson claimed that Smollett staged his alleged Jan. 29 attack to promote his career. Johnson alleged that the actor paid $3,500 to stage an attack because he was "dissatisfied" with his Empire salary. Johnson also alleged that Smollett concocted the threatening letter he received prior to the alleged attack that contained homophobic and racist language, and when that "didn't work," went ahead with the alleged attack.
"Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," Smollett's lawyers, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, told ET at the time. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."
Sources told ET on Thursday afternoon that Smollett was back on the Empire set after posting $10,000 of his $100,000 bond.
The visit came shortly after Smollett appeared in court for a hearing after surrendering to authorities that morning. According to the bond slip from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, the bond deposit was posted by Lauren Criddle, who is listed as a friend. Smollett was also asked to surrender his passport. His next hearing is set for March 14.
A source close to the Empire production team told ET earlier Thursday that a meeting with Fox was expected to happen on Thursday to discuss Smollet's future with the show.
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