When Chicago police officers first responded to Jussie Smollett’s apartment for a reported hate crime attack, an associate of his told police that the actor didn’t want any extra attention.
“He is, like, a star. He works on the show ‘Empire,’” Smollett’s creative director told police. “So, I think — He doesn’t want that to be a big deal, you understand what I’m saying?”
Body-cam footage was among a trove of Smollett-related documents and footage released Monday by the Chicago Police Department.
The two officers responding to Smollett’s Streeterville apartment were greeted by Smollett’s creative director. After meeting the two officers in the lobby, he took them to the elevator bay where he told the police that Smollett was a famous actor who didn’t want any extra attention.
Once on Smollett’s floor, the officers walk inside and find Smollett still wearing a makeshift noose.
One officer asks him: “Do you want to take it off or anything?”
“Yeah, I do, I just wanted y’all to see it,” Smollett says, before telling the officers that his attackers also poured bleach on him.
While Smollett’s creative director insisted that the actor didn’t want the incident publicized, the CPD would later say that notoriety was what drove Smollett to orchestrate a bogus hate-crime attack on a frigid night in late January.
Also included in the massive document release were printouts of Smollett’s text message exchanges with Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo — one of the two brothers that police said helped carry out the bogus attack. Among those released was a telltale Jan. 25 message police pointed to as the start of the hate crime hoax planning: “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet to talk face to face.”
In the days before the reported attack, Osundairo seems to be plotting a diet plan for the actor, but police have said that a check for $3,500 dated Jan. 23 was payment for the faked attack.
The message exchanges between Smollett and the bodybuilding Abimbola date back more than a year, with Smollett sending encouraging messages to Osundairo about bodybuilding success and extending an invitation to Osundairo and his family to a Christmas party, an invitation Osundairo accepted. The text messages also appear to document the two meeting up to smoke marijuana, and Smollett buying weed and the party drug “molly.”
The pair are in frequent communication, planning nightclub trips and hangouts regularly. On Jan. 29, Osundairo sent a text to Smollett: “Bruh say it ain’t true. I’m praying for a speedy recovery.”
In messages to friends, Abimbola’s brother, Olabinjo, used homophobic slurs, referring to emails from a “fruity” acquaintance.
“I neer(sic) replied to his fruity ass after that. I have been replying to him on (Instagram) either,” he wrote in a Jan. 14 text. “I’m done with his gaylord ass.”
Later he added: “Just tired of down low n---as tryna sneakily be on some gay s--- like n----- is stupid.”
After reporting that he was the victim of the racist, homophobic attack in late January, police would later charge Smollett with making a false police report. CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said that Smollett felt he was underpaid on “Empire” and he was hoping for a pay raise.
Police and prosecutors said he orchestrated the plan with the help of the Osundairos, who he met while working on the show. Those brothers were questioned extensively by CPD detectives. During those interviews, police said, the two — who were not charged — pointed to Smollett as the mastermind.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she “recused” herself from Smollett’s prosecution when it was in its infancy. Foxx said she stepped back because she had contact with the actor’s family when he was still thought to be a victim of a hate crime.
In late March, the state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped all charges against the actor — a decision former Mayor Rahm Emanuel called a “whitewash of justice.”
Last week, a county judge decided to appoint a special prosecutor to examine Foxx’s office’s handling of the case.
In the meantime, the city filed a lawsuit against Smollett seeking to recoup the more than $130,000 that was spent on police overtime during the investigation. The two brothers that police say aided Smollett in the plans have also filed suit against the actor’s attorneys, alleging they made several defamatory statements.