Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel says the sudden move to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett over a hoax attack has made a fool of the city.
The state’s attorney’s office maintains Mr Smollett has not been exonerated, while Mr Smollett’s lawyers say his record has been wiped clean.
“They better get their stories straight because this is actually making a fool of all of us,” the mayor told ABC News.
Police maintain Mr Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack.
Mr Smollett has insisted throughout that he is innocent of all these allegations.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Wednesday, Mr Emanuel pilloried the Empire actor, saying he “abused the city of Chicago”.
“You have the state’s attorney’s office saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax. He’s saying he’s innocent and his words aren’t true.”
Mr Emanuel says he wants the court records unsealed so that all the evidence gathered by Chicago Police could be seen.
He said he also wants prosecutors to explain why they made such a sudden reversal.
So what are prosecutors saying?
Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats made the decision to drop charges against the TV actor on Tuesday in a move that blindsided police – but he maintains that Mr Smollett is guilty.
“Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence,” Mr Magats told CBS News. “Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”
He added that community service and a fine is a common outcome for such a case. When asked if those penalties were sufficient for Mr Smollett, he said: “I feel that it is.”
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney, told NBC News that prosecutors “did not exonerate Mr Smollett”, but offered an agreement available “to any defendant with similar circumstances”.
“The charges were dropped in return for Mr Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.
“Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.”
Police, however, have disagreed, with Supt Eddie Johnson saying if Mr Smollett “wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence”.
Jussie Smollett: Mayor says case makes Chicago look foolish