PVD NAACP speaks on Smollett case, nomination in 50th Image Awards

President Donald Trump now calling for the FBI and Justice Department to look into why the 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped. 

Despite prosecutors saying this does not exonerate him and the evidence would’ve shown he lied, the Empire star maintains his innocence as he heads into the weekend up for an NAACP Image Award.

Smollett was charged with staging a hate crime against himself in Chicago earlier this year, but he was let off after forfeiting his bail money and doing community service.

The Image Awards are Saturday. Smollett is nominated for best supporting actor in a drama.

Jim Vincent is president of the Providence branch of the NAACP who said the awards are held every year to acknowledge contributions in the arts within the African American community.

He said it’s not meant to be a political stage, despite some personal feelings about what may have happened in Chicago with Smollett.

“Jussie Smollett probably did something that was less than honorable,” Vincent said. “So many people have really been harmed. I have no reason to condemn him or applaud him.”

The case is showing no end in sight, with an investigation underway to see what the circumstances were surrounding the choice to throw out the 16 felony charges. Vincent believes we are now playing the waiting game.

“There’s no closure. It’s similar to the Mueller report there’s no closure. People left us hanging,” he said.

With attention now shifting to the 50th Image Awards where Smollett is up for a prize, Vincent is reminding the public that if Smollett were to win it’s because of an appreciation of his contribution to the arts. His case in Chicago should not play a role in whether he wins or loses.

“It’s going to play out the way it’s going to play out,” he said. “It’s an award show. It shouldn’t be politicized but people are human beings and I’m not sure how the judges are going to look at him.”

President Trump took to Twitter calling Smollett’s case an embarrassment.

The City of Chicago is also demanding Smollett pays $130,000 for the cost of the investigation.