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Prosecutor Who Dropped Charges Against Jussie Smollett Explains Decision: ‘We Didn’t Exonerate Him’

The Chicago prosecutor who made the decision to drop all charges against Jussie Smollett — who was accused of faking a high profile hate crime — explained the decision in an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, emphasizing that the Empire actor had not been “exonerated.”

“We didn’t exonerate him,” assistant state attorney Joe Magats told the Times reporter Julie Bosman, who tweeted out quotes from their interview.

Bosman wrote on Twitter that Magats said “he saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett. The charges against Smollett were dropped in return for his agreement to do community service, he said, and for forfeiting his bond to the city of Chicago.”

“Here’s the thing — we work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime,” Magats told the Times. “Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”

“We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case. The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence,” he added.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Managing Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin