Chicago police release files in 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett case, day after charges were dramatically dropped
Chicago police came out swinging Wednesday and released the full 61-page investigative report in the alleged Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax, one day after charges against the "Empire" star were dramatically dropped — but the move prompted a moot court order.
About an hour after the department released the files, the Chicago police reportedly became subject of a court order that barred them from releasing further files even though they were widely available online.
The police files – some of which were redacted to remove witness names and personal information – laid out steps taken by detectives to get to the bottom of what happened the night of Jan. 29.
The report revealed new details about the police obtaining a search warrant for Smollett's iCloud account and then sharing the data with the FBI. The report also provided fresh details about the $3,500 check Smollett wrote to Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo. The brothers claimed they were paid to carry out the attack on Smollett, though Smollett said the money was for personal training sessions.
Smollett told police he was attacked around 2 a.m. on his way home from a sandwich shop. He said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and tied a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
The news of such heinous allegations quickly garnered national attention.
Soon, though, the tides shifted and investigators accused Smollett of making the whole thing up because he was unhappy with his pay on "Empire" and believed the publicity garnered from the incident would promote his career.
Wednesday's released report shed light on some of the behind-the-scenes moves investigators and prosecutors made to interview witnesses and throw off reporters.