Chicago police offered a detailed glimpse into their work on the Jussie Smollett case, releasing 61 pages of records to WGN on Wednesday following a Freedom of Information Act request. The document dump arrives one day after a surprising twist in the case against the Empire actor, with Cook County prosecutors dropping the 16-count indictment that accused him of masterminding a racist and homophobic attack on himself in order to further his career.
The exhaustive file, which redacts witness names and other information, follows the investigation from the beginning — tracing the steps of a confusing narrative that began with Smollett claiming he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.
According to the documents, detectives obtained surveillance footage at the store where brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo — two of the actor’s associates, whom he allegedly hired to carry out the attack — bought rope, masks, gloves and other supplies with $100 they received from Smollett; surveillance footage also allegedly captured the brothers leaving the store and getting into Smollett’s Mercedes.
Police also interviewed a manager at the TCF Bank location inside a Jewel grocery store about a $3,500 check written by Smollett and deposited by one of the brothers. (Prosecutors later alleged that the check — which, according to the memo line, was for personal training — was payment for following through with the plan.) Another piece of evidence discussed in the documents is a bottle of El Yucateco hot sauce found near the scene over a week after the alleged attack.
Chicago prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Smollett as part of a deferred prosecution deal. The actor will have to perform two days of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city; in return, his record will be wiped clean. The controversial move came weeks after the actor pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
Smollett has repeatedly denied the claim. “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he said Tuesday after leaving the court. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”
On Wednesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the case, went on Chicago radio station WBEZ (via TMZ) and offered insight into the decision to drop the charges, noting that “the likelihood that someone would get a prison sentence for a Class 4 felony is slim.” While Smollett reiterated his innocence after the charges were dropped, Foxx said that innocent people don’t just give up a $10,000 bond, which Smollett did in exchange for the dropped charges.