Jussie Smollett: Chicago Police Release New Details Behind Hate Crime Investigation

The Chicago Police Department released more than 400 pages related to the Jussie Smollett investigation, giving a detailed look at how prosecutors ultimately decided to drop charges of lying to police against the Empire actor.

Click here to read the documents.

In late January, Smollett claimed two men assaulted him when he was on his way back to his Chicago apartment. He said they wore red Make America Great Again hats, yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, put a noose around his neck and threw a substance at him.

Chicago police accused him of staging the attack because he was unhappy with his Empire salary, charging him with 16 felonies related to lying to police. However, on March 26, all charges were surprisingly dropped in exchange for Smollett completing community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.

While prosecutors' decision to drop the charges was shocking to almost everyone, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department, the new documents reveal that the Cook County State's Attorney's office told the department on Feb. 28 that they planned to settle the case without going to trial.
Assistant State's Attorney Risa Lanier "informed detectives that she felt the case would be settled with Smollett paying the City of Chicago $10,000 in restitution and doing community service," the documents read.

A police spokesman told CBS Chicago they believed the settlement would include an admission of guilt, but that was not the case. After the charges were dropped, Smollett held a press conference in which he maintained his innocence and said he told the truth.

Police kept investigating the case up until the day the charges were dropped. As ABC7 notes, the documents did not reveal if the detectives who were told about the deal told their superiors, including Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Johnson said he was taken by surprise when the deal was made public.

The documents detailed how brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo were interviewed on Feb. 13, and told investigators Smollett staged the attack with their help. Police also learned that Smollett picked up the brothers on Jan. 27 to take them to the location where the attack would happen for a dry run. The documents revealed that police also spoke with an Uber driver on Feb. 9, and identified one of the brothers.

Police still have 69 hours of video in the case that is expected to be made public next week. Officials said they still have to edit the video files to only include information related to the case, which includes blurring faces and license plates of vehicles unrelated to Smollett.

The documents were released on Thursday after a judge ordered police to unseal them last week, following requests by news outlets.


Smollett starred on Empire as Jamal Lyon for the show's first five seasons. He was written out of the final two episodes after he was indicted. Although the cast has stood by him, Smollett will not appear in the show's upcoming sixth and final season.

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