AceShowbiz - As Jussie Smollett is laying low after the alleged attack and the false police report accusation that followed, his brother JoJo Smollett speaks out to defend him. The eldest brother of the Smollett siblings writes an op-ed published on BET.com to make a case for Jussie's innocence.
"Within less than three months, his life has been turned upside down as my family and I have witnessed him endure unrelenting attacks to his character and reputation," JoJo writes, claiming that his brother was "falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him" and "to define this experience as unjust would be an understatement."
JoJo says his brother was convicted "in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom" because media spread unconfirmed leaks from the cops as fact. Regarding the Osundarios whom Jussie believes were not his attackers, JoJo says, "Most importantly, detectives refused to show Jussie video, photos, or any evidence to prove they were the attackers."
He additionally notes that the Nigerian brothers have had a history of crime and changed their story about Jussie's attack while under police interrogation. "The entire police case rested on two witnesses that lacked credibility and there was no physical evidence tying Jussie to this crime," JoJo argues.
For those reasons, JoJo asks, "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?"
JoJo goes on saying that the accusation Jussie staged the attack to make more money from "Empire" and to boost his career was "ridiculous" as the 36-year-old actor had scored other gigs besides starring on the FOX drama series. JoJo notes that the network denied this as well, but the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department "never withdrew his accusation."
While he says that Jussie receives love from "his village, fans and fellow activists," JoJo adds that "what concerned me the most is, as the CPD continued their campaign against Jussie." He adds, "In an effort to fit in with the momentum on social media, many appeared to roast him, demean him, and laugh at a traumatic and painful ordeal."
JoJo says his younger brother has suffered "night terrors" following the alleged attack. "Jussie is as strong as iron, but following an attack like this, there is a normal and natural amount of post trauma that mostly anyone should expect to suffer," he insists. "I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault. Some of my siblings, as well as Jussie's partner and closest friends have seen similar things."
"We live in a country that promises liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. Jussie deserves those civil guarantees as much as everyone else," JoJo argues, before concluding his essay, "I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: 'What if Jussie is telling the truth?' "
In March, Jussie was indicted on 16 felony counts of false report of offense related to the alleged January 30 attack. However, all charges against him were dropped on March 26 after Jussie's defense team reached a deal with prosecutors which included Jussie performing 16 hours of community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.