Prosecutors have laid out their full case against Empire actor Jussie Smollett — and it reads like a movie plot.
During a press conference early Thursday, Chicago police previewed some of the initial findings of their investigation, revealing that Smollett’s orchestrated attack was motivated by a dissatisfaction over his salary on Empire. Police also said Smollett initially sought to attract attention by sending a “false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,” and when it failed to generate headlines, he planned the now infamous attack with the help of brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo.
According to a bond proffer filed during Smollett’s bond hearing on Thursday afternoon, Smollett was a close friend with Abimbola Osundairo. They often worked out and socialized together in addition to both appearing on Empire (Osundairo was a stand-in for a character named ‘Kai’). Additionally, prosecutors say Osundairo supplied Smollett with ecstasy.
On January 25th, Smollett approached both brothers about assisting him in staging the attack. After asking them for their loyalty, Smollett gave the brothers $100 to purchase supplies including rope, gasoline, ski masks, and red hats in the style of Trump’s MAGA hat. He told the brothers to attack him, but to not hurt him too badly, and instructed them to yell slurs like f*ggot Empire n*gger” and “This is MAGA country!”
On the 27th, Smollett and the brothers scouted out the location of the attack, prosecutors say. He told the brothers to leave behind their cell phones and provided them with a personal check for the amount of $3,500.
In the hours leading up to the attack on the 29th, Smollett and the brothers spoke frequently by phone.
A witness who saw the attack said neither Smollett nor the brothers could be heard yelling. When police arrived to speak with Smollett, he asked them to turn off their body cameras and provided them with a statement. He told officers that he received a threatening phone call in the hours prior to the attack, and that the two assailants were white men wearing ski masks.
Less than 18 hours after the attack, Smollett again spoke to the brothers by phone, after which the brothers boarded a pre-planned flight to Nigeria. Upon their return back to the US on February 13th, they were detained by US Customs officers.
Prosecutors say their evidence includes text messages, phone records, social media correspondence, bank records, and surveillance footage. Smollett was placed under arrest early Thursday morning and charged with a class 4 felony — filling a false police report. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
You can read the bond proffer in full here.