Empire star Jussie Smollett has been at the center of a shifting hate-crime assault investigation since January, and the case has taken a number of twist over the past two months.
First, it was believed that Smollett was assaulted by two men who racist and homophobic.
Later, police discovered that there was evidence to suggest that Smollett may have faked the attack, and as they investigated further the trail seemed to continue leading down that path.
Police eventually charged Smollett for filing a false police report and lying about the attack, but he has since denied that he fabricated the incident.
Scroll down to read through a timeline of the controversial scandal.
Jussie Smollet is a 36-year-old actor, who is currently most well-known for his role as Jamal Lyon on Fox's Empire. He has earned three award nominations from his time on the series.
Prior to Empire, Smollett was a child actor who appeared in a number of films and TV series such as The Mighty Ducks, North and On Our Own.
He is the older brother to actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who was on Full House as a child and will be appearing as Black Canary in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie.
On Jan. 29, Smollett alleged that he was attacked outside of an apartment building by two white men who beat him because he is gay and black.
He stated to police that they yelled, "This is MAGA country," while assaulting him, pouring a liquid believed to be bleach on him, and putting a noose around his neck.
Smollett claimed to have fought the men off and called for help, who arrived to find him still with the rope around his neck.
He was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to have his injuries treated but was released after it was determined that he had not suffered any serious wounds.
Following the attack, Smollett broke his silence by providing a statement to Essence magazine.
"Let me start by saying that I’m O.K. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words," the statement began.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served," Smollett continued.
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me," he added.
"With Love, respect & honor... Jussie," the statement concluded.
Police reviewed surveillance footage from the area where the alleged attack took place and discovered individuals they believed to be persons of interest.
Eventually, authorities were able to identify the men and brought them in for questioning. They were released without charges.
The two men are brothers named Abel and Ola Osundairo, and they are of Nigerian descent.
It was later alleged that Smollett and the brothers were seen in his apartment building elevator together on the night of the alleged attack.
During their interview with police, the Osundairo brothers claimed that they had not assaulted Smollett but rather he paid them to be involved.
Police later confirmed that they had evidence to suggest he paid the men $3,500 to help him carry out the hoax, in the form of the actual check he wrote to them.
In a statement, the Osundairo brothers said, "We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens."
The actor's attornies released a statement in regard to the hoax allegations, saying on hs behalf, "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."
Following the new developments, it was reported that police wanted to speak with Smollett again. He reportedly refused, issuing a statement though his PR rep, Anne Kavanagh.
“There are no plans for Jussie Smollett to meet with Chicago police today. Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf. We have no further comment today,” Kavanagh's statement read.
On Feb. 20 Smollett was officially charged with felony disorderly conduct after police determined that he filed a false police report regarding the assault.
The following day, the Empire actor turned himself in to police.
During a Thursday morning press conference, Chicago P.D. officials advised that Smollett would have a bond hearing later in the day.
At the hearing, Smollet was given a $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender his passport.
During their press conference, Chicago police also offered a motive for Smollett's faked assault.
They claimed that he did it because he was not satisfied with his Empire salary.
While they did not offer much more info than that at the time, the implication seems to be that he intended to gain more public notoriety and use it to leverage for a bigger payday.
After bonding out of jail, Smollett returned to the set of Empire where sources told TMZ that he apologized to the cast and crew for what has happened.
"I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this,” he said.
Producers have since revealed that Smollett has been dropped from the remainder of the current season.
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season,” a joint statement from the producers read.
On March 8 it was announced that Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts of lying to the police about the assault.
According to CBS News in Chicago, the allegations are specifically referred to as “false report of offense" and are Class 4 felonies.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” the indictment read in part.
On March 14, Smollett appeared in court again to be arraigned on the charges he faces. The actor pleaded "not guilty."
While he waits for his next court date to come, he is expected to stay in Chicago, but will be allowed to travel to Los Angeles and New York to meet with his lawyers as long as he gives sufficient notice to authorities ahead of time.
According to legal experts, Smollett could face jail time and/or be required to pay financial restitution to make up the money that the Chicago P.D. spent on investigating the hoax assault.
The actor has reaffirmed his innocence in a statement submitted by his legal team, saying, "Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election,” the statement added.