In two years since Jussie Smollett told Chicago police that he was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack, there has been one shocking development after another. Investigators searched for the perpetrators of what was initially described as a “possible hate crime” before ultimately accusing the actor of staging his own assault.
The Empire star reported that he was attacked in the early hours of January 29, 2019. Days later, he spoke out for the first time since the incident, stating that he was “working with authorities and [has] been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level.” He also returned to work, performing a concert in West Hollywood before returning to the set of his Fox musical drama.
Smollett appeared on Good Morning America in February 2019, for his first interview about the alleged attack. He became emotional at one point, saying that he was “forever changed” and felt “pissed off” by both the incident itself and the skepticism swirling on social media.
A major development in the case came that same month, when police arrested two possible suspects, but they were released soon after without charges. Multiple reports later surfaced accusing the actor of staging the attack with the help of Abimbola “Bola” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, which he repeatedly and vehemently denied.
However, in February 2019, he was charged with felony disorderly conduct for making a false police report. The next morning, he was arrested. He was subsequently charged with 16 felony counts.
In another shocking reversal, Smollett’s attorneys announced in March 2019, that Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against him and “his record has been wiped clean.”
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement at the time.
However, nearly a year later, in February 2020, a special prosecutor Dan Webb indicted Smollett again, renewing the divisive case. The indictment against Smollett stated that he “knew at the time” that there was no crime when he reported to the police that he had been assaulted.
In December 2021, Smollett took the stand where he explained that the attack was “no hoax.”
“My character was a superstar, a pop star, a beloved GQ whatever,” he told the jury, according to the Tribune. “It was very important that I looked like Black Cary Grant, not beat down.”
Smollett was found guilty of five felony counts of disorderly conduct in December 2021.
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