Jussie Smollett Celebrates 37th Birthday 5 Months After Hate Crime Scandal: 'Grateful for LOVE'

Despite a controversial year, Jussie Smollett is full of gratitude on his birthday.

The former Empire actor posted a baby photo to commemorate turning 37 on Friday.

“Grateful for LOVE. Grateful for y’all. Grateful for another year around the sun. #SummerSolstice #StillSmiling,” he captioned the cute photo.

It’s been five months since the star claimed two men attacked him — hurling racist and homophobic insults, dousing him with a chemical and slipping a rope around his neck — in an alleged homophobic and racist hate crime in Chicago sparking national outrage. The case took a turn when authorities alleged he’d staged the whole thing and paid the men in question, indicting him in March with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. He pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police, and all charges were suddenly dropped at the end of March.

“I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he told reporters outside of a Chicago courthouse where the charges were dismissed. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.”

He has not been exonerated of the alleged conduct, nor does this mean there will be no further criminal charges brought against him.

Since then, he’s been let go from the hit Fox musical drama that made him a celebrity.

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