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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

Updated 10 mins ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.