Washington: Jojo Smollett, the brother of Jussie, who has been accused of orchestrating an attack on himself, came out in support of his brother on Saturday.
Jojo, in an op-ed published in BET.com, claimed that Jussie’s life has turned upside down after he was charged with multiple felony counts associated with lying to the investigation team about the attack on him in January.
“Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him. To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement,” The Hollywood Reporter quoted Jojo as mentioning in the article.
Jojo also maintained that Jussie was convicted by the public even before his case reached the courtroom.
“Is that all it takes to destroy a lifelong dedication to one’s craft and community? Is it really that easy to convince the world of a person’s guilt? Is that all it takes to turn someone’s life upside down in America? Simply ask yourself this – what if Jussie is telling the truth?”
Jojo went on to talk about how the charges have affected his brother’s career and said, “My brother was developing two films with one of the biggest producers in Hollywood, had the lead to a Broadway show on the table and owns the option rights to the authorized autobiography of his idol, Alvin Ailey.”
He added, “All pointing to not only an advancing career but a business savvy mind. To suggest that he staged his own attack to boost a sagging career is ludicrous.”
Jojo compared Jussie to the character he is playing in ‘Empire’ and said, “He (Jussie) is an unusually good, soulful and spiritual man whose character on Empire represents much of who he is and has given voice to people who have been historically marginalised.”
He ends his article, asking the readers, “What if Jussie is telling the truth?”
Jussie, a black and gay, alleged that he was attacked by two masked men, who yelled racial slurs against him in January. The case was presented to the grand jury which said that he orchestrated the attacks.
Jussie was charged with 16 felony counts and all charges were dropped against him as he forfeited USD 10,000 and agreed to do some community service.
However, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson criticised the dropping of charges. Later, Jussie was sued by the city of Chicago for USD 130,000 to recover costs incurred during investigations.