Jussie Smollett headed straight to the Empire set to beg his cast mates to believe he did not stage a race hoax attack on himself hours after posting $10,000 bond and agreeing to surrender his passport at a court hearing.
Smollett, who was earlier supported by his family, is said to have told everyone on the set: ‘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.’
The actor, scheduled to film scenes for the show Thursday, keep cast and crew waiting for at least 30 minutes, TMZ reports. Sources say it was obvious Smollett had been crying so producers then told him come back later.
Fox have not yet decided whether to suspend or fire Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, the son of music mogul Lucious Lyon. Just hours before his arrest the studio said it stood by the ‘consummate professional’ and furiously denied claims he is being written out of the show, which is in its fifth season and returns to the air March 13.
Prosecutors had earlier shared more details of his relationship with the two Nigerian brothers he allegedly paid to stage an attack on him in the hope that it would boost his profile.
The actor was hurried out of the Cook County Jail shortly before 5pm on Thursday and said nothing as he fought his way through photographers to get into a waiting car. He was flanked by bodyguards and driven away immediately.
Three of the actor’s five famous siblings, Jazz, Jocqui and Jake, were pictured arriving at the Cook County Criminal Court before his bond hearing wearing sunglasses. They were later joined by their brother Jojo but their other sister Jurnee and mother Janet were not seen.
They left the court before Smollett once the hearing was over, fighting their way through a scrum of photographers to get into a waiting van parked outside without answering any questions.
Smollett’s bail was set at $100,000 – the amount he gets paid for one episode of Empire. He paid 10 percent of it to win back his freedom and will return to court on March 14 to face a felony charge of filing a false police report.
Jussie Smollett was ushered out of county jail on Thursday by police officers and body guards after posting $10,000, ten percent of his $100,000 bond, and agreeing to surrender his passport. He clung on to his security guard’s shoulders as he followed him out to a waiting car
Smollett said nothing and held on to his security guard who led him through a crowd of photographers outside the jail
Smollett was sandwiched between security guards as he made his way to the car. He has to return to the court March 14
Smollett was escorted out of the jail by two police officers. He stared at news cameras waiting for him outside and kept his hands in his pockets
Even before he reached the scrum of photographers, Smollett placed his hands on his security guard’s shoulders
After the hearing, prosecutors gave a detailed description of how he allegedly put the hoax together.
Police say he knew Abel Osundairo, one of the brothers, because he bought ‘designer drugs’ from him. In text messages that predate the hoax attack, he asked Abel for ‘Molly’ – the street name for ecstasy – multiple times. The pair are believed to have met when Abel was a stand-in on Empire.
On January 25, he convinced Abel and his brother Ola to ‘simulate’ an attack on him, giving them specific instructions about which words to use and how to rough him up but not hurt him too severely, according to police.
His alleged motive was that he did not get enough attention over a letter he is said to have sent himself a week earlier and he thought that painting himself as
He knew they were going to Nigeria days later and asked them if he could trust them, saying in his initial text message to Abel: ‘Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?’
Smollett took them to the location where he wanted the attack to happen outside his apartment, according to prosecutors, and even pointed to a surveillance camera he believed would capture it.
The claims came after a blistering press conference during which furious police bosses alleged that he mailed himself a threatening letter then staged a hoax attack because he was unhappy with his $1.8million Empire salary.
The actor wore a stony expression as he was seen for the first time publicly since being labeled ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’ by the police department
Smollett was wearing black pants and a black puffer jacket. He turned himself into police at 5am on Thursday
A sketch from inside the courtroom shows Smollett appearing before Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald to have his bond set. The judge said that if true, the allegations against him are ‘utterly outrageous’. He was particularly disturbed by the use of a noose in the attack, saying it is an image which ‘conjures up such evil in this country’s history’
Jocqui (in beige coat), Jake (in black, right) and Jazz Smollett (center in fur-trimmed coat) arrive at the Cook County Criminal Court on Thursday to attend their brother Jussie’s bond hearing. There was no sign of the actor’s mother Janet, his other sister Jurnee or his brother Jojo
Jocqui Smollett is show entering the court and waiting for proceedings to begin. The Smollett family issued a statement when the attack was first reported to condemn hate crimes and stand by Jussie. Jocqui has since accused the media of vilifying his brother in social media posts
Jazz, Jocqui and Jake entered the courthouse without speaking on Thursday. Their other two siblings, Jojo and Jurnee, did not join them
Surveillance footage emerged on Wednesday showing Ola and Abel Osundairo buying ski masks the day before the attack. Smollett gave them a $100 bill to pay for the bleach, ski masks, red hat and gloves that they used, according to prosecutors
After his bail hearing, the state’s attorney gave a press conference where she described in painstaking detail how the hoax came together.
On January 25, he texted Abel asking him when he was planning to go to Nigeria, a trip that had been prearranged.
Jussie Smollett is shown in his mugshot on Thursday morning. The Empire actor handed himself in at 5am on charges of filing a false police report. Police now say he concocted the fake attack because he wanted a raise
They were familiar with one another because Abel had once filled in as a character on Empire who was a love interest of Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon.
Abel replied that he and his brother were leaving on January 29 to which Smollett replied: ‘Might need your help on the low.
‘You around to meet up and talk face to face?’
That afternoon, they met up at the CineSpace studio and Smollett drove Abel home.
During the car ride, he told him about his ‘displeasure’ over 20th Century Fox’s reaction to the letter he allegedly sent himself days earlier.
He said he wanted to stage an attack and suggested that Ola, Abel’s younger brother, get involved.
Once they got to the brothers’ home, they summoned Ola outside and Smollett asked the pair if he could trust them.
Smollett then allegedly laid out what he wanted them to do and gave them a $100 bill to buy ski masks, a red hat, gloves, rope and bleach to use.
‘He stated that he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an Empire f****t Empire n****r. He detailed that he wanted Abel to attack him but not to hurt him too badly and give him a chance to fight back.
HOW THE ATTACK WAS PUT TOGETHER
January 22: Jussie Smollett receives a letter at the CineSpace studio which threatens his life and has ‘MAGA’ written on it in red pen. He reports it to police
January 25: Smollett sends a text to Abel Osundairo asking him when he is going to Nigeria and if they can meet up face-to-face
Abel goes to the studio where he is working and Smollett drives him home. During the ride, he said he was ‘displeased’ with the reaction to the letter.
Once at their home, Abel’s brother Ola gets in the car and Smollett tells them what he wants them to do. He gives them a $100 bill to buy the goods they will need to fake the attack
January 27: Smollett picks the brothers up then drives them to the spot where he wants them to fake the attack.
He then goes to New York.
January 28: Smollett is in New York City for a reading of the play Take Me Out.
The brothers are filmed buying ski masks, a red hat and gloves
January 29 – Day of attack
The attack was due to take place at 10pm on January 28 but because Smollett’s flight was delayed, it was pushed back.
12.30am: Smollett arrives back in Chicago
12.49am: He calls Abel Osundairo and they talk for three minutes
Abel orders an Uber minutes later.
1.22am: The brothers arrive in the area of the attack
1.45am: Smollett leaves his building to go to Subway
2.04am: The attack takes place in the arranged location
2.10am: Brothers get a taxi from a hotel nearby
2.25am: The brothers arrive back in their neighborhood in a taxi
2.27am: Smollett’s manager calls the police
2.42am: Police arrive at Smollett’s building and he asks them to turn off their body cameras
7.45pm: Smollett calls Abel. The conversation lasts five seconds.
7.47pm: Abel calls back and they speak for 1 minute 34 seconds.
The brothers then board their flight.
January 30, 10:46am: Smollett calls Abel who is by now in Istanbul, Turkey.
They speak for 8 minutes and eight seconds.
‘He also included that he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell: “This is MAGA country” and “Make America Great Again,”‘ a proffer that was released by the State’s Attorney’s office said.
Police have found surveillance footage of the ride and have phone records which put Smollett in the area of the brothers home at the time.
On January 27, he picked the brothers up from their home and drove them to where he wanted the attack to happen in the late morning.
He warned them not to bring their cell phones with them and showed them a surveillance camera on the corner which he believed would capture the incident.
Smollett drove the brothers home and provided them with a $3500 personal check made payable to Abel, which was backdated to January 23, 2019.
He then flew to New York City to take part in a reading of a play.
The attack was scheduled to take place at 10pm on January 28 but was set back several hours by Smollett’s delayed flight from New York to Chicago on the day of the incident.
His flight landed at 12.30am, January 29.
At 12.49am, he called Abel and their conversation lasted three minutes. During this call, he instructed him to carry out the attack at 2am.
Abel then ordered an Uber to pick the pair up at their home and take them to the crime scene.
They took the Uber part of the way but then got out and hopped in a taxi to take them the remainder of the distance.
At 1.22am, they arrived within three blocks of it. At 1.45am, Smollett left his apartment building to go to a Subway and the brothers made their way towards the intended spot.
Smollett, however, was late. They did not cross paths until 2.04am which is when they carried out the attack. At the exact moment it was occurring, an NBC News employee was getting out of her car nearby. She told police later that she did not hear anything suspicious, despite Smollett alleging that the attackers yelled racial slurs.
The attack only lasted 45 seconds and was ‘just outside the view of the desired nearby camera that Smollett had pointed out to the brothers approximately 15 hours earlier.’
The brothers then ran away on foot, heading southbound towards the Chicago River. They then got in a taxi at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Fifteen minutes later, they got out of the cab a few blocks from their house.
Two minutes later, at 2.27am, Smollett’s manager reported it to police and police arrived at Smollett’s apartment at 2.42am, 12 minutes later.
While being interviewed, he not only described the attack but claimed to have received a phone call on January 26 from someone who said ‘hey you little f****’ and hung up. He said the call happened near a camera and that it captured the attack. It was the same camera he pointed out to the brothers in the hope that it would capture their staged ambush.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson abhorred him as a ‘troubled young man’ who has ‘taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism to further his career’ by allegedly lying that he was attacked by racist and homophobic assailants on January 29.
Smollett makes $100,000 per episode on Empire, according to an associate who spoke to DailyMail.com, and there are 18 episodes in the current season which earns him $1.8million.
He also has a record deal with Columbia Records but, according to police, was ‘dissatisfied’ and wanted to boost his profile.
When police learned that Smollett’s motive was to get more money, it ‘p****d everybody off’, Superintendent Johnson said, adding that Smollett’s repeated ‘lies’ were ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’.
He called for ‘absolute justice’ which he said amounted to Smollett apologizing and offering to pay for the police resources he wasted.
20th Century Fox, which defended the actor on Wednesday, is now ‘considering its options’ in light of his arrest.
President Trump has also called for Smollett to apologize for making it appear as though he was being targeted by one of his supporters.
This is the state’s case against Smollett, as laid out in their bond proffer that was submitted in court on Thursday
Police say they have found phone records which prove Smollett spoke with brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo an hour before the attack, an hour afterwards and while they were in Nigeria, keeping their heads down, while the case gained global attention.
Prosecutor Risa Lanier laid bare the allegations in a press conference after the bond hearing
They also say they have the check that Smollett used to pay them $3,500.
The brothers ‘confessed’ to the ‘entire plot’ once they were in custody on Thursday.
It began on January 22 when Smollett allegedly mailed himself a threatening letter to the Empire studio in Chicago which had ‘MAGA’ written on it and included racist and homophobic slurs.
It read: ‘Smollett Jussie, you will die’ and included a drawing of a stick figure with a gun pointed towards it.
He reported it to the police along with producer Dennis Hammer.
When that did not win him a pay rise from 20th Century Fox, however, he allegedly hired the brothers to attack him at 2am on January 29 in what he then told police was a random, racist and homophobic attack.
The attack did happen but was not caught on camera. According to the brothers, they punched him after meeting at an arranged spot and time then ran away and got into a taxi.
President Trump tweeted on Thursday after the details of his arrest emerged to demand an apology from the actor who said his attackers shouted ‘This is MAGA country!’
Smollett then went home to his friend, 60-year-old Frank Gatson, who was in the apartment and told him that he had been jumped by two masked assailants who shouted: ‘Empire f****t n****r’, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and screamed: ‘This is MAGA country!’
Police say that the actor gave himself the scratches on his face that were visible in a hospital-bed selfie he took after reporting it.
The same day, the brothers went to the airport and boarded a flight to Nigeria.
While Smollett received an outpouring of sympathy from politicians, celebrities and public figures around the world, they laid low but were allegedly in contact with the star.
As the police investigation heated up, officers honed in on them by tracking taxis that were in the area at around the time of the incident.
In particular, a ride-share the brothers took to the location gave police their details.
They were then picked up when they returned to Chicago on February 13.
Once in custody, they told police that Smollett had hired them and said it was because he wanted a higher salary.
Smollett, a vocal Trump critic, said his attackers shouted ‘This is MAGA country!’ and later suggested he was targeted because he is so critical of the president
He paid them a reported $3,500 to carry out the attack, they said, and promised them $500 more when they returned from their trip.
Smollett is in custody awaiting his first court appearance on felony charges of filing a false police report. He will appear before a judge at 1.30pm.
His lawyers issued a statement on Wednesday to protest his innocence and condemn the police for leaking so many details of the investigation.
During the press conference, Superintendent Johnson revealed Smollett went from being treated as the victim in the case to a suspect when the brothers ‘confessed’ the ‘entire plot’ in the final hour of a 48 hour hold.
That is when they, in their lawyer’s words, ‘manned up’ and revealed that they had been hired to carry out the attack by the actor himself.
Smollett actually furthered the investigation along by going on Good Morning America and confirming that the two people in a grainy surveillance footage still were the men who attacked him.
He was unaware when he made the remark that Chicago PD had identified those men as the Osundairo brothers and that they had them in custody.
‘I come to you today not only as the Superintendent of Chicago Police Department but as a black man who has spent his entire life living in the city of Chicago.
‘I know the racial divide. I know how hard it has been for our city and our nation to come together.
‘Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.
‘I’m left hanging my head and asking why? Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?
Chicago PD also shared this map of Smollett’s movements on the night of the attack and show where it happened. The cameras in the area where it happened were not facing him, to his dismay
Another map shows where the assailants were dropped off in a ride-share, top right, then walked to the attack and fled to get in another taxi afterwards
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’
‘How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see it as an opportunity to manipulate his own public profile?’ Superintendent Johnson said, adding it was a ‘slap in the face ‘ to ‘everyone’ in Chicago.
‘I love the city of Chicago, warts and all, but this publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.
‘The accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks…Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor,’ he went on.
When we discovered the actual motive, it p****d everybody off
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson
He added that he was ‘angry and offended’ and said it was a travesty that other crimes do not garner as much attention.
‘I just wish that the families of the victims of gun violence in this city got as much attention. That is who really deserves this amount of attention.’
He was emphatic, later, about the fact that no other investigations suffered as a result of Smollett’s claims, but said: ‘Bogus police reports cause real harm.
‘They do harm to ever legitimate victim who is in need of support by police.’
Johnson finished his remarks by saying: ‘I’ll continue to pray for this troubled young man who resorted to both drastic and illegal tactics to gain attention.
Police say Smollett cut his own cheek to make it look like he had suffered injuries in the attack. He is shown in a hospital bed selfie FaceTiming Lee Daniels, the show’s creator, hours after the attack
‘I’ll also continue to pray for our city asking that we can move forward from this and begin to heal.’
Police examined footage from 55 surveillance cameras, obtained more than 50 search warrants and conducted more than 100 interviews.
If convicted, Smollett may be asked to repay the money that was spent investigating the crime.
Smollett has not made any statements since he was taken into custody.
His lawyers said on Wednesday night that he would fight the charges with an ‘aggressive defense’.
In previous statements, his representatives have angrily hit out at the media and insisted that he is the victim.
Within hours of him being charged, Smollett’s attorneys arranged for him to hand himself in quietly at Chicago’s 1st District afterwards.
He appeared in his mugshot wearing a black puffer jacket, staring blankly at the camera.
After being processed at the station, he was transferred to the Cook County courthouse where he will appear at 1.30pm. He is being held separately from other detainees.
20th Century Fox, which released a statement hours before he was charged to say it was standing by him, is now reportedly suspending the actor.
20th Century Fox said on Thursday that it was now considering its options. It had been standing by the actor
A press conference is scheduled for 9am CT during which detectives will give more details about the arrest. It is not yet known where he was or what time he was taken into custody.
‘Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,’ the actor’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said.
‘Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.’
The Osundairo brothers testified before the grand jury for about two and a half hours on Wednesday.
Addressing reporters outside afterwards, their attorney Gloria Schmidt said they’d ‘manned up’ by speaking out against Smollett.
The brothers bought their masks, gloves and a hat in this store the day before the attack
The rope they put around Smollett’s neck was bought in this hardware store
They have not been arrested or charged and their lawyer said they had not been offered any form of immunity deal in exchange for testifying against Smollett.
‘There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said: “We’re gonna correct this.”
‘Plea deal, immunity, all of that — they don’t’ care about that.’
She said that Smollett was lying, and that she didn’t know how his conscience could let him sleep at night.
There was a point where this story needed to be told and they manned up and they said, “we’re going to correct this”
Gloria Schmidt, lawyer for two Nigerian brothers
‘I think Jussie’s conscience is not letting him sleep right now and he should unload that conscience and come out and tell the American people what happened,’ she added.
‘I think the biggest thing for the American people to know. Is that this story, has a lot of complications to it.
‘We’re not trying to hide anything from the press. But we wanted to make sure that everything checked out.
‘When I say that the police spent countless man-hours trying to piece this together, I mean that, I absolutely mean that.
‘When I say that my clients spent countless hours getting their story out there to the police so that they could do their work, I mean that, too,’ she said.
The brothers’ testimony came after footage emerged of them buying ski masks, a red hat and gloves in a store the day before the attack.
The brothers said Smollett also sent himself this letter to the Fox studio where Empire is filmed a week before the attack. If he did, he faces another 5-10 years in prison on a federal mail fraud charge
Abel and Ola Osundairo’s lawyers said on Wednesday night that they ‘manned up’ by telling police that Smollett paid them. Ola once appeared on the show as an extra. He is shown with creator Lee Daniels, right
It was taken on January 28 and shows brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo inside what looks like a drug store buying the masks and one hat.
Smollett told police that he was attacked by two masked assailants who punched him, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and called him ‘Empire n****r f****t’.
No footage has ever emerged of the incident itself.
In the video taken inside the store the day earlier, the brothers look calm as they bring the items to the register.
Smollett follows the brothers’ joint Instagram account where they post videos and photographs of themselves working out
Abel, whose full name is Abimbola, is dressed in a blue plaid jacket. About 30 seconds into the video, he puts his hood up while standing at the register.
His younger brother Ola, who once appeared on Empire as an extra, is in a green jacket.
The brothers were picked up by police at Chicago O’Hare Airport on Wednesday night as they returned from Nigeria.
Police seized a red hat from the brothers’ home along with ski masks when they raided it last week. Smollett said his attackers were wearing masks but there was not a description of a red hat in the initial reports.
Police have since shared their belief that at least one of them was wearing a red hat at the time of the attack.
Smollett’s family, many of whom are also actors, have spoken out repeatedly in support of him since the January 29 attack as have many of his co-stars on Empire.
Among them is Gabby Sidibe, his roommate at one time, who said on Instagram on Wednesday: ‘I know him. I believe him.’ However she later appeared to have deleted the posts.
Fox also insisted that he was not being written out of the show, as had been claimed, and called him a ‘consummate professional’ in a statement.
Smollett’s lawyers include Mark Geragos, who has represented Michael Jackson and Colin Kaepernick, in the past.
Last Thursday, the actor wept as he said ‘who the f*** would make that up’ when addressing the skepticism surrounding his version of events during an interview on Good Morning America. He has also called himself the ‘gay Tupac’ and issued statements via attorneys and representatives condemning coverage of the incident
When news of the attack first emerged on January 29 and 30, Smollett was inundated with support across the political spectrum.
Among those who tweeted their condemnation of him were Democratic presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
But as days went by with no suspects on the horizon, details about the case and the police’s investigation into it began to cast doubt on Smollett’s version of events.
One of the earliest sources of speculation was the fact that Smollett waited 42 minutes to call the police then refused to hand over his phone to the police for them to verify his story.
He then handed over redacted files that police described as ‘insufficient’.
Frustrated with the coverage of his case, he hit out at the media for reporting on leaked information coming from within the Chicago police department and insisted he was the victim.
He then went on Good Morning America to protest his innocence.
In an hour-long interview with Robin Roberts, he wept as he recalled the attack and abhorred the reaction to it.
CELEBRITIES REACT TO JUSSIE SMOLLETT’S ARREST
Celebrities have lashed out at Empire actor Jussie Smollett following his arrest after many of them publicly voiced support for him when he first claimed he had been targeted in a racist and homophobic attack.
Actor and comedian Tyler Perry penned a lengthy Facebook post saying he had personally spoken to Smollett who insisted he was telling the truth.
Perry added that the evidence seemed to contradict Smollett’s version and that he was ‘lost for words’.
‘I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing,’ he said.
50 Cent mocked Smollett and his Tupac reference with an Instagram photo of the actor’s face imposed on the cover of the rapper’s album, saying: ‘All Liez On Me’
Snoopdog posted a Scooby Doo cartoon with Smollett’s face edited in
‘Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation.’
Straight Outta Compton actor O’Shea Jackson Jr was scathing in a series of lengthy tweets about the developments.
‘What upsets me about this Jussie situation is that people were genuinely worried about you man. And the things that you said happened could have led to some serious outcomes. People were prepared to fight for you bruh. Things coulda got ugly…… and you made it up.
‘The world has plenty of real monsters. You don’t have to make up any. And what for? Just further dividing people for personal gain? It sucks for the people who actually have to deal with that type of hate.
‘And why did you call yourself the gay Tupac. What does Tupac have to do with anything that happened to you? Did you do this to sell records bro? Did you fake a hate crime, Enrage the Black community. The LBGT community and anti-Trump community just to sell records bruh?
Actor and comedian Tyler Perry penned a lengthy Facebook post saying he had personally spoken to Smollett who insisted he was telling the truth but later added that the evidence seemed to tell a different story
Straight Outta Compton actor O’Shea Jackson Jr was scathing in a series of lengthy tweets about the developments
‘People could’ve gotten hurt. Thinking they’re protesting and standing up for you. This is not a game.’
Smollett had compared himself to Tupac during a performance in West Hollywood earlier this month. He ended his set saying he fought back against his so-called attackers and said he was ‘the gay Tupac’.
50 Cent mocked Smollett and his Tupac reference with an Instagram photo of the actor’s face imposed on the cover of the rapper’s album, saying: ‘All Liez On Me’.
Andy Cohen tweeted that his ‘head is exploding’ following news of Smollett’s arrest before calling the story ‘pathetic’.
Actor Patton Oswalt retweeted a tweet from President Donald Trump, saying: ‘Way to go Jussie. You just handed this racist dips**t a ‘Get Out Of Race-Baiting Free’ card that he’s gonna wave around like a soiled diaper until he’s re-elected.’
Trump had tweeted: ‘.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA’.
Choking back tears, he explained when asked why it took so long for him to contact the authorities: ‘There is a level of pride there.
‘We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I am not weak. I am not weak and we as a people are not weak.’
Later, he added how desperate he was for them to find footage of the attack.
‘I want that video found so badly because, for probably four reasons.
‘Number one, I want them to find the people that did it.
‘Number two, I want them to stop being able to say ‘alleged’ attack.
‘Number three, I want them to see that I fought back,’ he continued, welling-up.
‘I want a little gay boy who might watch this to see that I fought the f*** back. They ran off,’ I didn’t,’ he said.
After it emerged that Smollett knew the brothers and may have been involved in the staging of the attack, the celebrities and politicians who rushed to support him walked back their claims.
Nancy Pelosi deleted her tweet about it and Cory Booker said he would now be ‘withholding judgement’ until more information emerged.
Kamala Harris said, when questioned about her tweet that it was a ‘modern day lynching’, that she was ‘very concerned’.
Key moments in reported attack on actor Jussie Smollett
January 29, 2019
Smollet is seen with a cut cheek on Jan. 29
Jussie Smollett tells Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while walking home from getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2am.
The black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an ‘unknown substance’ on him.
Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in ‘MAGA country,’ an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign slogan, which some critics of Trump have claimed is a racist dog whistle.
Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none of the videos show the attack.
Police obtain and release images of two people they would like to question.
Reports of Smollett’s attack draw outrage and support on social media, including from U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren.
Both Booker and Harris called the incident a ‘modern day lynching’.
Joe Biden said: ‘We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts.’
Police released this image of ‘persons of interest’ taken near the reported attack
Trump tells reporters at the White House that he saw a story the night before about Smollett and that, ‘It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.’
Smollett’s family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime.
Smollett’s family says he ‘has told the police everything’ and ‘his story has never changed,’ disputing assertions leveled on social media that he has been less than cooperative and changed his story.
Smollett issues a statement telling people that he is OK and thanking them for their support.
He says he is working with authorities and has been ‘100 percent factual and consistent on every level.’
Smollett gives sold-out concert in West Hollywood, California, opening with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.
At the end of the set, he announces that he fought back against his attackers, calling himself ‘the gay Tupac’.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is in attendance at the concert.
Smollet is seen performing on February 2, where he called himself ‘the gay Tupac’
February 5th: Chicago PD releases incident report which reveals Smollett did not want to call police. There is no mention of the MAGA country remark which he gave in a follow-up interview
Brandon Z. Moore, his manager, gives police a screenshot to prove their call.
February 11th: Smollett finally hands over redacted phone records to prove the phone call but police label them ‘insufficient’.
His neighbors say they don’t believe his version of events.
February 12th: Smollett’s rep releases statement to say he is the victim and that he has been telling the truth
February 14th: Good Morning America airs the full interview with Smollett, in which he blasts speculation that the attack was staged as itself racist and hateful.
Hours later, it emerges that two Nigerian brothers were picked up at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on their return from Nigeria the night before.
Cops identify the two men as the individuals seen in the surveillance images released from the night of January 29 but will not share their names.
Two television stations in Chicago simul report the widespread belief among investigators that Smollett staged the attack as a hate hoax.
Chicago’s police superintendent later said that he had no evidence to prove that the attack was a hoax.
Producers of ‘Empire’ dispute media reports that Smollett’s character was being written off the show.
High-powered criminal defense attorney Michael Monico reveals that he is representing Smollett.
Brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25, were detained by police on February 13
Police logs show the items that cops seized from the Nigerian brothers’ Chicago home
DailyMail.com confirms they are brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25.
Later, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielimi says the two ‘persons of interest’ are now considered suspects. He says the men are in custody but have not been charged with a crime.
Chicago police release two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for nearly 48 hours.
A police spokesman said the two are no longer considered suspects and that investigators have ‘new evidence’ to consider as a result of questioning them.
A police spokesman said that the investigation had ‘shifted’ after detectives questioned the two brothers about the attack and released them without charges.
Smollett hired Michael Cohen’s high-powered criminal defense attorney, Michael Monico, as the police investigation into the attack he reported last month took a sudden shift amid allegations of a hoax.
Smollett’s lawyers said on Saturday the actor felt ‘victimized by reports he played a role in the assault, and that Smollett would continue cooperating with police.
A police spokesman said that Chicago police have told Smollett’s attorneys they want to do a follow-up interview with the actor.
A spokesperson for Smollett’s lawyers said she couldn’t comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.
This is the letter Smollett allegedly received at the Fox studio, a week before the January 29 incident. No photographs of it emerged until after the alleged attack. He reported the letter to the police when he received it along with Empire producer Dennis Hammer
Stars and politicians who spoke out in support of Smollett walk back their condemnation of the attack amid growing suspicion that it is a hate hoax
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case
The Osundairo brothers speak with police and prosecutors in Chicago but are halted at the last minute before going to testify before a grand jury.
Smollett hires Colin Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos and his legal team present a ‘hail Mary’ piece of evidence which stops the brothers’ testimony
State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx recuses herself from the case citing her ‘familiarity with potential witnesses’
Leaked information from the brothers’ meetings with prosecutors and police emerges. They reportedly claimed Smollett was involved in sending himself the letter on January 22
Fox says Smollett is not being written out of Empire contrary to reports and Smollett’s co-stars speak out in support of him.
He is named as a suspect later in the afternoon and the brothers are seen entering grand jury offices at the courthouse.
Smollett is criminally charged with filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony which carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.
Smollett hands himself in to police at 5am.