Since the top of January, many have been making an attempt to determine what precisely is occurring with Jussie Smollett. Following preliminary studies that the actor had been attacked outdoors of a Chicago Subway whereas filming the Fox collection Empire, followers have questioned every little thing from whether or not he was truly attacked to only how a lot belief we should always put in the Chicago Police Department’s statements. The story included former Empire extras, a racist and homophobic letter being despatched to the Empire set, and Jussie declaring himself the “gay Tupac.”
On the morning of Feb. 21, the case took a serious flip, with Smollett turning himself in to Chicago police after being thought-about the orchestrator of what they’re now calling a hoax. For those that may need been following the state of affairs or simply want some clarification on the ordeal, this is a timeline of the case and all the things we all know so far.
Jan. 22, 2019: The letter
Less than every week earlier than the assault, a letter arrived on the workplaces of Fox’s Empire is filmed. It was addressed to Smollett and never solely contained racist and homophobic language, however is claimed to have contained white powder.
Threat letter despatched to Empire present tackle every week earlier than precise assault have a number of issues in widespread: goal is Jussie Smollett, information of the place he works, rope round neck, hate language, MAGA ref, & **mark beneath eye,** — robust connection between letter & alleged assault.  pic.twitter.com/iLOp9qoAP2
— Jolie Adams (@Jolieishere) February 13, 2019
Jan. 29, 2019: The assault
On the morning of Jan. 29, 2019, a number of information retailers reported that Smollett had been hospitalized after an assault at 2 a.m. Initial studies said that Smollett had been on his strategy to a Chicago Subway when he was attacked by two white males outdoors of the restaurant; the lads, who wore ski masks, have been stated to have shouted “this is MAGA country” whereas beating him, placing a noose round his neck, and finally fracturing one of his ribs, though a spokesperson from the Chicago Police Department informed Complex that “there is no report of that being said.” From there, the Chicago Police Department launched an investigation into the reported assault, wanting into it as “a possible hate crime.”
Jan. 30, 2019: The safety footage
The Chicago Police Department’s chief communications officer Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that “detectives [had] located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning.” Images from the footage have been distributed in hopes of serving to police catch these people.
Jan. 31, 2019: The Smollett household responds
Smollett’s household released a statement on the assault: “We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice.” After calling the assault “domestic terrorism,” they continued: “We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country.”
Feb. 1, 2019: Jussie speaks
One day after his household spoke out on the incident, and days after everybody from John Legend to the NAACP released statements, Jussie released a press release of his personal by way of Essence, saying, “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.”
Feb. 2, 2019: “I’m the gay Tupac!”
After dropping his first assertion, Jussie performed on the Troubadour stage in West Hollywood, the place he spoke out concerning the state of affairs throughout a reside efficiency. After clarifying that he wasn’t hospitalized (he’d simply visited a physician) and that his ribs weren’t damaged, he made it clear that he fought again towards his assailants. Smollett was met with supportive cheers and applause, and went on to name himself “the gay Tupac.”
— Do It For Tha Culture (@doitforthacult1) February 3, 2019
Feb. 12, 2019: Smollett’s telephone data submitted, rejected
Smollett cooperated with the police investigation, together with submitting his telephone data from the night time of the assault. However, in response to USA Today, the paperwork have been rejected by police; Sgt. Rocco Alioto said that the telephone data did “not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted.”
Feb. 13, 2019: Arrests made
Eleven days later, Chicago Police arrested two males in reference to the assault, later recognized as Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. According to The Wrap, Olabinjo appeared as an extra on Empire in 2015.
Feb. 14, 2019: The Good Morning America interview
ABC scored Smollett’s first full-size interview after the assault, the place he stated he was “pissed off” at individuals questioning his story and the incident.
That night, extra particulars surfaced concerning the Osundairo brothers. Chicago police raided their residence, seizing 5 bottles of bleach, electronics, footwear, and different gadgets. Police additionally said that the brothers had left for Nigeria on the day of the assault.
As this info was launched, some media studies indicated that Chicago PD believed Smollett had staged the assault. Guglielmi tweeted that the media reviews alleging that the assault was a hoax have been “unconfirmed by case detectives,” as there was “no evidence to support their reporting.” He referred to the supposed CPD sources these retailers had spoken to as “uninformed and inaccurate.”
Feb. 15, 2019: The brothers are launched
While Chicago PD continued to dispute stories that they thought the assault was staged, the 2 males they arrested were released with out being charged. “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations,” Guglielmi tweeted, “the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”
Feb. 16, 2019: Was it staged?
The subsequent day, extra stories suggested that Jussie orchestrated the assault. CNN reported that two police sources had indicated that Chicago PD believed Jussie had paid the 2 males in query to take part on this staged assault. That similar night time, Deadline confirmed by way of a press release from Chicago PD that the division had shifted the trajectory of their investigation “based on the premise that Mr. Smollett was an active participant in the incident.” Two days later, Smollett’s attorneys said that whereas they’d hold an “active dialogue” with Chicago PD, there have been no plans to satisfy with detectives.
Feb. 19, 2019: The brothers converse
Amid questions of Jussie’s position on Empire being diminished, sources told CBS Chicago that the brothers, who have been beforehand arrested as suspects, stated that Jussie was the one who despatched the letter to the Empire set and that the assault was orchestrated as a result of the letter did not obtain a “bigger reaction.”
Feb. 20, 2019: Jussie is a suspect
Guglielmi returned to Twitter with an official assertion: “Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.” Attorneys representing Smollett told People that they have been mounting an “aggressive defense,” noting that, “Like some other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, notably when there was an investigation like this one the place info, each true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.”
Feb. 21, 2019: Jussie is in police custody
Early Thursday morning, Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police. The ensuing class four felony fees towards Smollett might end in as much as three years in jail and an estimated $25,000 in further fines.
Chicago police has launched Jussie Smollett’s mugshot and a press release relating to his cost of disorderly conduct – false report of offense. pic.twitter.com/bERdd4flCD
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) February 21, 2019
During the next press convention (which you’ll be able to see in full under), CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson referred to as this incident a “publicity stunt” and “a scar Chicago didn’t earn and certainly didn’t deserve.” They repeated claims that Smollett despatched the unique letter that began the complete ordeal and confirmed that he’d paid the 2 brothers $three,500 for his or her half within the incident. The reasoning? According to Johnson, Smollett was “dissastified” with the quantity of cash he was making on Empire. Chicago PD additionally referred to as his Good Morning America look “shameful” and requested that Jussie apologize to the town of Chicago.
Later that day, Smollett was launched from police custody after posting $10,000 money in the direction of the $100,00 bond he was being held on. Multiple retailers reported that he made his way to the Empire set. Fox, who’d stood behind Smollett whereas this case developed, launched a press release saying that they “are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.” Meanwhile, Smollett’s authorized staff launched their very own assertion: “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. Mr. Smollett 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.”
Feb. 22, 2019: Smollet minimize from remaining episodes of Empire
On Friday, Fox introduced that Smollett’s character Jamal won’t seem within the final two episodes of Empire‘s fifth season, that are presently being filmed in Chicago. A assertion from the executives behind Empire, which embrace Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer, stated that the “disturbing” nature of the allegations result in their choice.
“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,” it learn. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we’re putting our belief within the authorized system as the method performs out. We are additionally conscious of the consequences of this course of on the forged and crew members who work on our present and to keep away from additional disruption on set, we now have determined to take away the position of ‘Jamal’ from the ultimate two episodes of the season.” As of proper now, there is no phrase on if Smollett’s character will probably be eliminated utterly from the collection.
The Hollywood Reporter looked into Smollett’s contract state of affairs, and whereas unconfirmed, it is stated that Smollett went from reportedly making round $40,000 per episode to $125,000 per episode, though he may need been signed to a 360 deal. Regardless of that, one supply is claimed to have informed THR that there was no phrase of Smollett chatting with Fox relating to being sad together with his wage, which calls into query the motivation the Chicago Police Department issued throughout their press convention on February 21.
Feb. 23, 2019: More questions…
Less than 24 hours after the information of his scenes in Empire being reduce, a quantity of questions relating to Jussie’s case happened. Initially, there have been studies claiming that Jussie had modeled his alleged hoax after the assault Empire government producer Lee Daniels’ cousin suffered in January, which Daniels stated solely occurred as a result of he’s homosexual. Meanwhile, the FBI said that they weren’t sure that Jussie despatched the letter that kicked this entire ordeal off within the first place. Finally, there was speak that Jussie’s Empire character might be recast.
Feb. 24, 2019: What was the examine for?
Amidst support from Empire co-star Terrence Howard, TMZ reported that the $three,500 examine that Chicago PD stated Jussie despatched to the alleged pretend attackers wasn’t for a hoax assault in any respect, however for fitness training for a video Jussie was planning on capturing. The memo line on the examine learn “5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don’t Go.”
Mar. 7, 2019: Hospital staff fired, inner investigation begins
CBS2 Chicago reported that dozens of staff and nurses at Northwestern Hospital are stated to have been fired for accessing Smollett’s hospital data inappropriately. This was the medical facility that Smollett was handled at after his alleged assault.
That similar day, the Chicago PD launched an inner investigation into info leaks that went to the media. In a press release, Chicago PD Sergeant Rocco stated he “want to level out that quite a bit of the knowledge on the market was inaccurate and there have been quite a few businesses concerned on this investigation. As a regular process when there are allegations of info being leaked, an inner investigation has been opened and we’re additionally taking a look at our vulnerabilities.”
Mar. eight, 2019: Jussie will get indicted
A day later, a Cook County grand jury indicted Jussie on 16 felony counts (he was initially charged with one felony rely for submitting a false police report). According to ABC 7, the grand jury hit Jussie with two separate units of costs, one based mostly on what he initially informed police concerning the assault, and the second based mostly on a second interview later that day.
ABC 7 additionally reported that every set of fees carries a sentence of probation; the thought is that Jussie would plea out and never should face jail time.