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Jussie Smollett. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

And just like that, the Jussie Smollett legal saga is over, with Chicago officials fuming over what Mayor Rahm Emanuel called a "whitewash of justice."

Why it matters: This has been one of the biggest non-Trump stories of 2019, with Smollett's status shifting from apparent hate crime victim to apparent hoaxer facing felony charges.

  • Now his 16 counts for disorderly conduct have been dropped in exchange for community service and forfeiting his bail bond, the Chicago Tribune reports.
  • In another surprise, the judge overseeing Smollett's case sealed the public court file, the Tribune notes.

What they're saying:

  • Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office: “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case."
  • Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson: “Do I think justice was served? No. ... At the end of the day ... it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax.”
  • Rahm Emanuel: “Where is the accountability in the system? ... You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and one set of rules apply to everybody else.”
  • Prosecutor Joseph Magats: “The fact that [Smollett] feels that we have exonerated him, we have not. I can’t make it any clearer than that."
  • Smollett after the hearing: “I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent from day one."
  • Fox Entertainment, the home of "Empire," his TV show: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.