Almost a month after Empire actor Jussie Smollett reported a hate crime to the city of Chicago police department, the 16 criminal charges against him have been dropped. In a shocking twist in this case that has left many people upset, the Chicago PD are determined to let justice prevail.
The case all began back on Jan. 22 (CBS) when Smollett received what seemed to be a threatening letter with an image of a man hanging from a noose on a tree and the words, “you will die” written in cut-out magazine clippings. The letter also had white powder on it, framed to appear like a poisonous substance. Then, one week later on Jan. 29, Smollett reported to the Chicago PD that he had been attacked by two men in ski masks outside his apartment. He claimed they shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him while they beat him to the ground and tied a rope around his neck. The actor also claimed that the attackers were shouting the famous President Trump slogan ‘Make America Great Again,” further fueling the rumors that Trump supporters committed the crime.
On Feb. 14, Smollett appeared on Good Morning America and defended his claim that he was indeed the victim of a hate crime, denying that the whole ordeal was a hoax. People had already begun to be skeptical of his story since he was reluctant to report the incident to the police and equally as reluctant to turn over his phone for investigation. The next day after his TV appearance, police questioned the two persons of interest that were in the surveillance videos but eventually released them later that day due to new findings that changed the direction of their investigation.
Then on Feb. 16, it was released that the two suspected attackers were brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, who both served as extras on Empire and attended the same gym as Smollett. The brothers admitted to detectives that Smollett paid them each $3,500 to fake the attack on him. Fast forward to four days later when Cook County, Illinois state attorney filed a felony disorderly conduct charge against the actor, further intensifying the claim that the whole attack was a hoax conducted by him.
By March 8 the Chicago grand jury had charged Smollett with 16 felony counts for every lie he told the police, to which he pleaded not guilty. Then, in a shocking turn of events on March 26, the Cook County State’s Attorney Office announced that all 16 charges against the actor had been dropped and his criminal record would be completely wiped clean. All Smollett had to do was forfeit his $10,000 bond and two days of community service.
To add more fuel to this flame, the Chicago PD released their full 61-page investigative report a day later, which contained proof that the whole attack was indeed a hoax orchestrated by the actor. Now, the city of Chicago is demanding that the actor pay $130,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. However, this may not be the end of this case. Smollett may still face a civil lawsuit and federal charges for his crimes (Fox News).