You are currently viewing Jussie Smollett: A complete timeline from actor's 2019 arrest to jail time – BBC

Jussie Smollett: A complete timeline from actor's 2019 arrest to jail time – BBC

Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to 150 days in jail, and ordered to pay a fine of $145,000 (£110,000) for lying to the police about being the victim of a hate crime.
The hoax incident took place in Chicago, in 2019.
He was found guilty of five charges in December 2021, over his false reports of being attacked.
After being sentenced in March 2022, he said "I did not do this," and shouted "I am not suicidal" repeatedly in court.
This video can not be played
The story has taken quite a few twists and turns since it began.
Here's a full timeline of what's happened since January 2019.
Chicago police say they're investigating a suspected racist and homophobic attack of Jussie Smollett by two masked men which happened at about 2am.
They say the actor was punched in the face, had an "unknown chemical substance" poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck.
Jussie Smollett tells police the two attackers also made reference to MAGA (make America great again) – the slogan often used by President Donald Trump and his supporters.
He goes to a doctor and police describe his condition as "good".
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Stars including Viola Davis, Janelle Monae and TI come out with messages of support for the actor.
His Empire co-stars including Grace Byers and Naomi Campbell also show support.
Grace Byers says: "This despicable act only shamefully reveals how deeply the diseases of hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country's veins."
Empire creator Lee Daniels posts and emotional video on Instagram, syaing: "Hold your head up Jussie. I'm with you."
Comedian Steve Harvey says: "This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred and racism and bigotry."
Jussie Smollett refuses to hand over his phone to police investigating the attack.
They wanted it to confirm details – including the MAGA references made – as the actor says he was on the phone to his manager at the time.
A day later, the police say: "He's a victim. We don't treat him like a criminal."
They say they won't demand the phone.
The actor says he's "OK" after the incident.
In a statement, he says: "The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."
He adds: "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level."
Chicago police also release pictures of two "people of interest" they want to speak to.
Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi says "detectives are taking this development seriously".
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr
At a concert that had been planned for a long time, Jussie Smollett makes some more comments on the incident.
"I'm not fully healed yet, but I'm going to," he says, reading from a piece of paper.
"Just because there has been a lot of stuff said about me that's absolutely not true."
Glancing at the balcony, he adds: "I'm sure my lawyer's sitting up there like 'No, Jussie, no'."
He says: "Above all, I fought… back."
"I'm the gay Tupac," he finishes, without explaining what he means.
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Jussie Smollett gives police a PDF file of his phone records, after they had originally asked for his phone and he'd refused.
But the files are redacted – some bits have been covered up.
The police says there's no reason to suspect any wrongdoing from Jussie Smollett and are "not even looking at charges regarding filing a false report".
Important for media reporting: The people of interest are alleged to be in the area where a crime was reported. They are not considered suspects at this time as they are currently being questioned by detectives. We remain in communication with the alleged victim. pic.twitter.com/JuH1kYRTYV
The two people of interest are arrested and interviewed by the police, but not charged and not treated as suspects.
They are Obabinjo (Ola) and Abimbola (Abel) Osundairo, brothers originally from Nigeria.
They had worked as Empire extras, sometimes going to the gym with the actor, their lawyer says.
Some of the items seized from a police raid of their home include a black face mask, an Empire script, phone, receipts, a red hat and bleach.
On the same day, an interview with Jussie Smollett is shown on Good Morning America.
He suggests the alleged attackers were white, saying: "If I had said [the attackers] was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more."
On his refusal to hand over his phone, he says: "I have private pictures and videos and numbers… my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos."
And speaking through tears, he says gay people should "learn to fight" these kinds of attacks.
Chicago police say they have "no evidence to support" reports that the attack was staged.
While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident. pic.twitter.com/b9GgXbSUt9
Chicago police say there have been "some developments in this investigation," a day after they release the Osundairo brothers without charge.
They say they want to speak to "the individual who reported the incident" – Jussie Smollett.
The actor's lawyers say in a statement: "Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with."
They add it's "impossible to believe" that the Osundairos "could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity".
Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury. pic.twitter.com/FhDcbBKsuU
Chicago police say the actor is charged with "disorderly conduct/filing a false police report".
Earlier in the day, a reporter in the US obtains footage appearing to show the brothers buying materials, including ski masks, that had allegedly been worn by the people who attacked the actor.
EXCLUSIVE:

I tracked down surveillance of the Osundairo's buying supplies before "attack"

Sources say Jussie Smollet told brothers what to buy.

Countless phone calls placed for this.

Visited more stores than I wish to admit. @cbschicago https://t.co/GT6h2g6Y9a pic.twitter.com/ULr3UTDe9Q
Mr Smollett's lawyers say they will "conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defence".
Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest. pic.twitter.com/LvBSYE2kVj
The rapper 50 Cent, who had previously come out in support of Jussie Smollett, posts a picture on Instagram referencing the actor's "gay Tupac" comment.
In the picture, he's put Jussie Smollett's face over Tupac's on the album cover for All Eyez On Me – and changed the album name to "all liez on me".
It’s 2019 people,things are a little different now. Commander Emanuel Gonzalez would say,if you see him shoot him on sight.
A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Feb 20, 2019 at 4:45pm PST
Jussie Smollett hands himself into police and is arrested.
At a press conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says that Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career".
He adds that the actor did it because he was "dissatisfied with his salary".
Police claim he also had sent a racist letter to himself at a Fox studio and paid the Osundairo brothers a cheque for $3,500 (£2,600) to stage the attack.
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Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox, the makers of Empire, issue a statement regarding the future of Jussie Smollett on the show.
"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options."
President Donald Trump tweets about the incident, calling the actor's comments "racist and dangerous".
.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA
When asked about the alleged attack previously, the president had said: "I think that's horrible. It doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned."
Later that day in court, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke says that the "most vile" part of the incident was the use of a noose.
Smollett's lawyers issue a strongly-worded statement after the hearing, calling it an "organised law enforcement spectacle".
The TV show's executive producers release a statement saying the actor won't be in the final two episodes of the latest series.
They add that the allegations against him are "disturbing".
Reporters in the US get hold of a copy of the $3,500 cheque allegedly paid to Abel Osundairo for the attack.
It's dated 23 January and says: "5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don't Go)."
ABC News reports that Don't Go is the name of a music video Smollett was planning to shoot – which is why he paid the brothers to get him in shape.
A statement from the brothers' lawyer Gloria Schmidt says they have "tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation".
It adds: "They understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves."
The first new episode of Empire is aired since the alleged attack.
Jussie Smollett's character Jamal Lyon features in the episode, which is down in the ratings, according to Variety.
He is scheduled to appear in seven of the remaining nine episodes of season five.
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Jussie Smollett appears in court charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct and pleads not guilty.
He must tell the court if he plans to leave the state of Illinois and is due back in court in mid-April.
I was so in my feelings last week that I forgot to post about @empirefox & @staronfox …. I guess y’all know why 👀👀… anyway I’m back and I’m finally ok!!!! 👊🏿🇺🇸👊🏿
A post shared by Lee Daniels (@theoriginalbigdaddy) on Mar 20, 2019 at 1:21pm PDT
Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, speaks about the 'Pain and anger' over Jussie Smollett he and his cast have gone through over the saga.
In an Instagram video, he adds that he and his team "really don't know how to deal with it."
He adds that Empire "was made to bring America together" and to "talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets."
“I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalised people everywhere.” Charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped. He had been accused of faking a homophobic and racist attack against himself. • • • #jussiesmollett #jussie #chicago #empire #racism #homophobia
A post shared by BBC Newsbeat (@bbcnewsbeat) on Mar 26, 2019 at 10:21am PDT
After an emergency court appearance, all charges against Jussie Smollett are dropped.
In a statement, his lawyer says: "He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator."
They add that his record "has been wiped clean."
STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
😉 see y’all Wednesday. #empire #empirefox pic.twitter.com/jQUtsHcQBF
Statement from Jussie Smollett’s legal team. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/2W6THH2xwi
But Chicago Police and the city's mayor stand by their case against Jussie Smollett, criticising the latest development in a joint news conference.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson says: "At the end of the day, it is Mr Smollett who committed this hoax, period.
"If he wanted to clear his name, the way to do that is in a court of law so that everyone can see the evidence… I stand by the facts of what we produced."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Jussie was "let off scot-free, with no sense of accountability for the moral and ethical wrong of his actions".
Jussie receives more criticism from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.
He calls the dropping of the charges "a whitewash of justice" and lashes out at Smollett for dragging the city's reputation "through the mud".
Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats, who decided to drop the charges, tells CBS he thinks Smollett is guilty.
But he explains the charges were dropped because Jussie forfeited a $10,000 (£7,600) bond payment and carried out community service.
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Jussie Smollett's lawyer Patricia Brown Holmes says "the case is closed" and "no public official has the right to violate" her client's rights.
In a statement she says: "We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenets of their office.
"The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen."
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!
US President Donald Trump tweets his thoughts on the case, calling it "outrageous" and an "embarrassment to the nation".
He also reveals the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now be investigating.
Letter from City to Jussie Smollett titled

“Demand Letter-Smollett False Statement”

Read here: pic.twitter.com/vvcI2pNWAR
Chicago police orders Jussie to pay $130,000 (£99,000) to cover the cost of police officers, including overtime worked on the case.
Officers say the time spent reviewing video and physical evidence could have been spent on other investigations.
In a letter to the actor, they repeat accusations that Jussie "orchestrated" the attack.
After Jussie Smollett refused to pay the $130,000 demanded by the Chicago police, he has been sued for "three times" that amount.
Police still want to be compensated for the manpower used investigating his alleged assault.
They still believe Jussie staged the attack.
It's revealed that Jussie Smollett's legal team is being sued for defamation by the Osundairo brothers – who say they continue to be accused of carrying out a racist and homophobic attack against the actor.
Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo say their reputations have been damaged as a result of the claims.
Smollett's lawyers Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian described the lawsuit as "comical" and "ridiculous".
TV Network Fox confirms Empire has been renewed for a sixth season but said there were "no plans" for Smollett's character, Jamal, to return.
In a statement it said: "By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire."
Smollett has worked on the show since season one in 2015. His character was removed from the final two episodes of season five after the allegations against him surfaced.
@Variety @JoeOtterson This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD
There it is – confirmation from Empire co-creator Lee Daniels that Jussie Smollett will definitely not feature in the show's final season.
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Chicago Police release footage taken about seven hours after the alleged attack.
Taken from a police officer's bodycam in Jussie Smollett's apartment, it shows the actor with a rope still around his neck.
An officer says: "Do you want to take it off or anything?"
Smollett replies: "Yeah I do, I just wanted you to see it."
The footage is part of hundreds of files released by Chicago Police from their investigation into the case.
Another video appears to show Abel and Ola Osundairo in a cab on the night the police were called.
Video from inside taxi of Osundairo brother’s on their way to meet Jussie Smollett night of reported attack..according to CPD@cbschicago pic.twitter.com/kYbUcoiwi5
Special prosecutor Dan Webb, who was assigned to investigate how the case was handled, says in a statement he is going to further prosecute Smollett.
The actor is charged with six counts of lying to police.
On the opening day of his trial, authorities allege that Smollett paid the Osundairo brothers to carry out the attack to promote his career because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on Empire.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb argues the actor had "developed a secret plan that would make it appear there was actually a hate crime that actually occurred against him by supporters of Donald Trump".
During the trial Smollett says the cheque was for a meal and workout plan from Abel, who he says he was involved in a sexual relationship with before the alleged attack.
Smollett repeatedly denies in court that he had been involved in a "hoax", and says he did not call the police because "as a black man in America, I don't trust the police, I'm sorry".
The jury of six men and six women reaches its decision one day after deliberations begin.
It finds Smollett guilty of five of the six counts of disorderly conduct, meaning that the last one had not been proven in court.
Each count carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. Given Smollett's lack of previous convictions, experts have said a lighter sentence or probation is likely.
A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
Three years after the hoax attack and first police report, Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days jail time and ordered to pay a fine of $145,000 (£110,000).
His sentence also includes 30 months of probation.
Throughout the trial, the actor always claimed he had been the victim of a crime.
"There is nothing that I can do here today that can come close to the damage you've already done to your own life," Judge James Linn told Smollett during the sentencing.
"You've turned your life upside down by your conduct and shenanigans."
This article was originally published on 25th June 2019.
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