Jussie Smollett is facing up to 48 YEARS behind bars after being hit with 16 felony count indictment
Smollett, 36, was flanked by body guards and some members of his family
He wore sunglasses as he entered the court but said nothing to his fans
Some chanted 'Justice for Jussie' as he strode into the courthouse in silence
A new judge was assigned before Smollett made his plea on 16 felony counts
It has also emerged that in the hours after the attack, his famous family enlisted Tina Tchen to help them try to steer the investigation
Tchen contacted State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx and asked her to get the Chicago PD to give the investigation to the police
They were worried about the amount of information that was being leaked to the press within hours of the incident
Foxx later recused herself over her contact with Tchen and some of Smollett's relatives who she was texting and promising to keep updated
The case did not go to the FBI in the end because there was not enough proof Smollett was a hate crime victim as he claimed
Smollett placed his sunglasses back on before leaving the courtroom
After pleading not guilty on all counts, Smollett left the court with his family without making a statement.
He was heckled on his way out of the courthouse as he got into a waiting car by someone shouting: 'You f***d up! Lock him up!'
On Thursday, Tina Glandian, one of his attorneys said they 'welcomed' the case being open to the public and media.
'We welcome cameras in the courtroom so the public and the media can see the evidence and we believe is a lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out,' she said.
The judge granted Smollett permission to travel to California and New York, where his legal team has offices, to meet with them but said he must notify pre-trial services 48 hours before and 24 hours after he returns from any trips.
Glandian was accompanied by two other lawyers from Mark Geragos' firm. Geragos is a celebrity favorite who has represented Chris Brown and Michael Jackson in the past.
He has spoken publicly since Smollett's indictment to claim he is the victim of a prejudiced media and police department.
The police department insists its investigation has been above board.
Members of Smollett's team told the media at the courthouse that his Empire co-star Terrence Howard had planned to attend the arraignment but that his flight was delayed arriving in Chicago.
They said he would likely attend later sessions.
As he left the courtroom, Smollett stopped to shake hands with an unidentified man waiting outside
Smollett left the court with his bodyguard and family. His lawyer Tina Glandian used her briefcase to protect her hair from the rain as they made the short walk to a waiting car
Smollett and his brother Jake leave the court with other members of their family behind them
Smollett's court appearance coincided with the revelation that his family contacted former Michelle Obama aide Tina Tchen to get in touch with State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx the day after the attack to tell her they had 'concerns' with how the police were handling it.
They were worried, they said, about the amount of information that was being leaked to the media from the start of the investigation.
Tchen persuaded her to try to pawn the case off to the FBI, according to text messages obtained by USA Today.
Foxx said she was 'trying' and had spoken to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnston to try to 'convince' him to let the FBI take the lead on the investigation.
She also exchanged text with one of Smollett's relatives who replied: 'Omg this would be a huge victory,' when Foxx mentioned her efforts.
The actor arrived in court in Chicago on Thursday to enter a plea on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. He put his hand on his heart as he walked past protesters shouting 'Justice for Jussie!'
Jussie Smollett is cheered on as he arrives at Chicago courtroom
The actor was searched as he entered the courtroom on Thursday to enter a plea
There were lines of fans outside the court who shouted 'Justice for Jussie' as he made his way inside
Protesters outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Thursday to support Smollett
Ultimately, the case did not move on to the FBI because there was not enough evidence that Smollett had been the victim of a hate crime as he claimed.
Foxx recused herself from the case after Smollett was arrested, saying at the time that her contact with a family member of his was a conflict of interest in the case.
Tchen, who worked with the Obamas when they were in the White House, has not publicly commented on the case.
Smollett did not initially want to involve the police on the night of the attack.
It was his friend, 60-year-old Frank Gatson, who insisted they call 911 after he arrived back at his apartment with a rope around his neck and bleach on his clothes, claiming to have been assaulted by two men who shouted: 'This is MAGA country!' as they beat him.
The Smollett family enlisted the help of former Obama adviser Tina Tchen (seen above with the couple in the White House) to try to get the investigation taken over by the FBI
State's Attorney Kim Foxx told the Smollett family she was 'trying' to convince the Chicago PD to let the FBI take over the case but it never happened. She recused herself later over the conflict of interest. On Thursday, trial judge Steven Gregory Watkins (right) was assigned to Smollett's case
It was 2am and he had gone out to get a salad from Subway.
In the weeks that followed, Chicago PD sources gradually leaked information about the case to local media about how Smollett was refusing to hand over his phone records.
As they combed through surveillance footage from the night of the attack, they honed in on the Osundairo brothers and tracked their ride share and taxi movements.
They then arrested the pair on February 20 as they arrived back in Chicago from Nigeria.
In the 47th hour of their 48 hour hold, the brothers confessed to the plot.
At around the same time, Smollett went on Good Morning America to plead his innocence and condemn the growing skepticism surrounding his case.
Brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo told police Smollett paid them to not only train him athletically but to attack him in a fake hate crime
Homophobic tweets written in 2013 by Jussie Smollett's alleged attackers resurface and could now be used in Empire actor's defense
A grand jury hit Smollett with 15 additional felony disorderly conduct charges on Thursday
The Empire actor now faces a maximum of 48 years behind bars if convicted
He was facing three years behind bars and a $25,000 fine for a Class 4 felony of disorderly conduct
Smollett denies the charges and will return to court in Chicago next week
He will return to court on March 14 to face the charges
Jussie Smollett now faces 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct which carry a maximum prison sentence of 48 years
Jussie Smollett has been hit with an additional 15 counts of filing a false police report by a grand jury and is now facing up to 48 years behind bars.
The Empire actor was initially charged with one Class 4 Felony charge of disorderly conduct last month but a grand jury has applied that charge 15 times over in an 36-page indictment that was returned on Thursday.
Now, he is facing a maximum sentence of 48 years behind bars and fines of up to $400,000.
He is expected to cut a plea deal with authorities, according to experts cited by ABC.
Neither Smollett's legal team nor Cook County prosecutors have commented on the new indictment which was first reported by CWB.
We obtained a copy of it this afternoon. It divides the 15 new charges into two sets.
Counts one to seven apply to the comments he made to police officer Muhammed Baig, who first responded to his apartment when his friend called 911 on January 29.
The second set applies to Detective Kim Murray who interviewed him later that day.
Jussie Smollett reported that one of his attackers was a male white, in dark clothing
Grand Jury indictment
She is who Smollett told, according to the indictment, that one of his attackers was a 'white male'.
He told Baig that he had been attacked by two 'unknown males' who were dressed in black.
One was wearing a ski mask and they called him 'racial and homophobic slurs', he said.
Smollett told Baig they hit him 'about the face' with their hands and poured an 'unknown chemical substance' onto them.
Later, in his interview with Kim Murray that he 'fought back'. The indictment reads: 'Jussie Smollett reported that one of his attackers was a male white, in dark clothing.'
Nigerian brothers involved in Smollett case issue an apology
The actor has not been charged for allegedly sending himself a threatening letter days before the attack, as police have alleged.
Smollett is accused of hiring brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to beat him up outside his apartment on January 29 in what he later described to police as a racist and homophobic attack.
Jussie Smollett is shown in the hospital with the scratches police say he gave himself after the 'attack'
The brothers say he paid them $3500 to do it and that he promised them an additional $500 which they would get when they came home from a trip to Nigeria.
They say Smollett's motive was that he wanted a higher salary on Empire.
The actor went on Good Morning America before he was arrested where he cried and insisted he was telling the truth amid a swelling tide of public cynicism.
Fox has said it is 'considering its options' in light of Smollett's arrest.
He will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire that are to be shown later this year.
On Friday, after the indictment was returned, the network declined to comment.
The actor's lawyers say he has been the victim of police and prosecutorial misconduct.
They say his presumption of innocence was 'trampled' and that the entire investigation into the attack has been flawed.
Chicago Police release statement on Jussie Smollett arrest
Jussie Smollett's Character Removed From Final Episodes Of 'Empire' Season
A new day brings another new twist in the Jussie Smollett hate crime investigation.
The Nigerian brothers who police claim helped orchestrate the “attack” last month in Chicago reportedly made homophobic statements on Twitter that some believe could be used in the singer’s defense.
As reported by The Daily Mail tweets from an account used by brothers Ola Osundairo, and Abel Osundairo surfaced on Monday with Ola writing to a man in 2013: “Why you following Frank Ocean … you know that ni**a gay right,” according to The Blast
Another tweet read: “YOU’RE GAY THATS WHO YOU ARE.” It’s unclear who Ola was referring to in that tweet, the report states.
Smollett’s defense team may be able to use these posts to support the Empire star’s claim that he was attacked by two masked men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him and tied a rope around his neck.
The offensive tweets contradict statements the brothers previously made publicly after being interrogated by the police.
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” they said in a joint statement.
Smollett charged with filing a false police report of a hate crime. Smollett, who had to surrender his passport, is free to travel only to New York and California to meet with his legal team, Page Six reports.
Meanwhile, Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson claims the singer paid the brothers $3500 to participate in the elaborate hoax because he was upset with his Empire salary.
Chief Johnson went on GMA yesterday to elaborate on the investigation and defend its notoriously brutal police force.
“Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he gave,” Johnson told Robin Roberts. “There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened.”
Smollett’s lawyers released a statement after the Empire star was charged: “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. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
Chicago police chief EVISCERATES Jussie Smollett for setting back race and LGTB relations as he details how the actor sent HIMSELF homophobic hate mail and then staged his 'attack'
Just a day after Jussie Smollett found himself formally in legal jeopardy, arrested in Chicago for filing a false police report, the Empire actor's job appears to be in jeopardy as well. Executive producers of the Fox program announced Friday that his character, Jamal, would not appear in the final episodes of the current season.
"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. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out," said a statement signed by Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and five other producers.
"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show," they continued, "and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season."
The announcement follows a Thursday news conference in which Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that Smollett had staged the apparent hate crime he reported last month. The incident — which Smollett allegedly faked with the help of two brothers whom he paid $3,500 — was orchestrated "because he was dissatisfied with his salary," Johnson explained.
The police superintendent said Smollett carried out the "stunt" after a racist and homophobic letter he received a week earlier, which he allegedly also faked, had failed to get the attention he desired. "So," Johnson concluded, "he concocted a story about being attacked."
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. 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," his lawyers said in a statement Thursday. "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."
Cardi B Blast Jussie Smollett For Lying “You F***ed Up Black History Month Bro”
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 and disorderly conduct
Police say that on January 22, Smollett mailed himself a threatening letter to the Empire studio in Chicago which had 'MAGA' written on it and included racist and homophobic slurs.
When that did not win him a pay rise from 20th Century Fox, he allegedly hired the brothers to attack him at 2am on January 29 in what he then told police was a racist and homophobic attack.
They punched him but Smollett gave himself the scratches on his face that were visible in a hospital-bed selfie he took after reporting it to police, the Superintendent said.
Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.
Chicago Police Department Chief Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson
While Smollett received an outpouring of sympathy from politicians, celebrities and public figures around the world, the brothers fled to Nigeria afterwards.
They were tracked down through their use of taxis on the night of the incident and were 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.
He paid them a reported $3,500 to carry out the attack, they said, and promised them $500 more when they returned.
Smollett is in custody awaiting his first court appearance on felony charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. He will appear before a judge at 1.30pm.
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.
Chicago Police Department Chief Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him 'shameful' and 'despicable'
Chicago Police release statement on Jussie Smollett arrest
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?
When we discovered the actual motive, it p****d everybody off
Chicago Police Department Chief Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson
'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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Empire actor Jussie Smollett charged with faking racist attack
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.
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.
Ola appeared on the second season of Empire as an extra. He is shown with Lee Daniels, the show's creator, on set in 2015
Smollett follows the brothers' joint Instagram account where they post videos and photographs of themselves working out
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.'
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.
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.
Nigerian brothers' lawyer says Jussie Smollett is lying
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
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.
Police released this image of 'persons of interest' taken near the reported attack
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.'
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. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Chicago police believe Jussie Smollett PAID two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to ATTACK him on the street and they bought the rope found around the Empire star's neck from a local hardware store
Cardi B says Jussie Smollett messed up Black History Month by lying.
The whole Jussie Smollet saga has been dominating headlines since he filed a police report claiming that two men in Chicago attacked him on January 29 in what was a hate crime. Cardi B is among the latest celebrities to weigh in on the saga which took a surprising turn over the weekend when reports surfaced claiming that the actor/singer orchestrated the whole thing.
According to CNN, law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the case confirmed that there is new evidence suggesting that Smollett paid the two men, who were arrested, to take part in his plot. Chicago PD arrested two Nigerian brothers and later released them without charge. Cops say the two men, who previously made a cameo in the hit TV show Empire, are fully cooperating with them.
Cardi B took to her Instagram Live last night to weigh in on the new development in the case, and she gets highly critical of the actor. “So am really disappointed Jussie Smollett, whatever the f*** his name is,” Cardi said. “Am really disappointed in him. I feel like he really f***ed up Black History Month bro.”
Cardi B added that she doesn’t want to completely not believe Jussie Smollett at least until he said it out his mouth because there are reports that police in Chicago are racist. “Am not gonna say yet until he said it out of his mouth that it was fake and this sh*t was staged,” She continues. I don’t want to completely blame him, because you know somebody who I was talking to say that police in Chicago are racist. So they will probably try to frame him and make him look like he is a liar, but if he is not then you f***ed up bro.
Did Nigerian Brothers SNITCH On Jussie Smollet? - Were released Without Charges
Actor Jussie Smollett orchestrated an assault against him, Chicago police say
Empire star hired two Nigerian brothers to beat him, investigators believe
Both men, Nigerian brothers, are friends of Smollett and said to be anti-Trump
The brothers were reportedly paid $3,500 and were promised additional $500
Smollett has hired high-powered defense lawyer Michael Monico
Smollett said last month that he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack
Initial reports said two noose-wielding men yelled 'this is MAGA country'
Police say new evidence emerged in interrogations that requires investigation
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE JUSSIE SMOLLETT CASE
Here is what we know so far about the alleged attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett and the ongoing investigation by the Chicago Police Department.
Since CPD is not commenting citing the ongoing probe, the public has been left to rely on Smollett’s version of events.
On January 29, Smollett was allegedly assaulted by two men at around 2am.
Reports indicated that he was allegedly beaten up and had a noose tied around his neck.
The alleged assault took place as Smollett was on his way home after buying a sandwich at a local Subway.
Initial reports indicated that the attackers were ‘white men’ who yelled ‘This is MAGA country’ while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and pouring bleach on him.
But during an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America, Smollett denied that his assailants wore red MAGA hats.
Smollett also told Roberts that contrary to reports, his ribs were not broken as a result of the incident.
After the assault, some began to wonder if Smollett concocted the entire story.
That there were those who doubted Smollett stems from a number of factors.
A Chicago Police spokesperson said on the day after the alleged attack that investigators were unable to find evidence of an assault.
The only surveillance camera at the scene was pointed in the opposite direction.
Smollett also phoned the police from his apartment rather than from the scene.
When Smollett initially refused investigators’ request to hand over his phone, this raised eyebrows.
Smollett then handed over his phone records, but they were redacted in order to protect the privacy of people not involved in the attack.
On Friday, police arrested two Nigerian men in the connection with the attack - only to have them released later.
Since both men are black, this has led some to be suspicious of Smollett’s claim that this was a hate crime.
Information emerged later on showing that Smollett knew the two men who were arrested since they were extras on Empire.
A theory floating around on social media stated that Smollett staged the attack because his character was being written off Empire.
But the show’s producers and writers quickly refuted that claim.
They also bought two red plain hats that they wore during the alleged attack, according to sources close to the investigation.
Police believe that the red hats were purchased at a local beauty supply store in the Uptown section of Chicago.
'We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,' Chicago Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said.
'We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.'
Chicago police are now ‘eager to speak to Jussie Smollett’ in light of the new information that was uncovered, according to ABC News.
‘We have been in touch with Smollett's attorneys,’ a Chicago Police Department spokesperson said.
Brian Flood tweeted: ‘CNN is all in on the Jussie Smollett news... but they keep forgetting the part where he claimed attackers were Trump supporters'
Celebrities rally behind Empire's Jussie Smollett after he is 'brutally attacked' in Chicago