First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats explained Tuesday why Jussie Smollett was not charged for allegedly staging a hate crime.
The Cook County prosecutor made the final call to drop the charges against the “Empire” actor because his office ultimately decided to prioritize other cases. (RELATED: Police Chief ‘Furious’ At Smollett Case Dismissal)
“We didn’t exonerate him,” Magats told New York Times reporter Julie Bosman. “Here’s the thing — we work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime. Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”
Magats did offer praise to the Chicago Police Department for its investigation of Smollett. (RELATED: CNN’s Symone Sanders Wants Chicago PD To Release Smollett Evidence)
“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 said.
The decision not to charge Smollett reportedly enraged the Chicago Police Department, with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson reportedly “furious” with the decision.