CHICAGO (AP) – Jussie Smollett is on trial Monday on charges of lying to Chicago police when a former Empire actor and R&B performer revealed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack nearly three years ago. Some key moments in the story:
January 22, 2019
– Smollett receives a racist and homophobic threatening letter in a Chicago studio filming Empire. Police later say they believe Smollett sent the letter.
January 29, 2019
– Jussie Smollett informs the police that he was attacked two men in downtown Chicago at 2am. The actor says the men used racist and homophobic insults, wrapped a rope around his neck and doused him with “an unknown substance.” Police say Smollett, who is black and gay, told detectives that the attackers also shouted that he was in “MAGA Country,” an obvious reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” which some Trump critics called racist and discriminatory.
January 30, 2019
– Chicago police say they’ve watched hundreds of hours of surveillance footage, including Smollett’s walk through downtown, but none of them show the attack. The police receive and disclose images of two people they want to ask questions, calling them “interesting people.”
– Reports of the attack on Smollett generate outrage and support on social media of some politicians and celebrities.
January 31, 2019
– The Smollett family makes a statement called the attack a hate crime and challenged allegations that he changed his story.
1 February 2019
– Smollett makes a statement saying that he is fine, that he works with the authorities and was “100 percent fact-based and consistent at all levels.”
02 February 2019
– Smollett opens concert in West Hollywood, California, with an emotional speech, saying that he has to play the show because he cannot let his hitters win.
13 February 2019
– Chicago police pick up two Nigerian brothers at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago after police find out that at least one was working on Empire. The police interrogate them and search their apartment.
15 February 2019
– Chicago police release brothers without charge after being arrested on suspicion of assault and detained for almost 48 hours. A police spokesman said they were no longer suspects.
16 February 2019
– Police say the investigation has “gotten underway.” after the detectives questioned the brothers, and requested an additional interview with Smollett. His lawyers say he feels like a “victim” of reports that he was involved in the attack.
17 February 2019
– Chicago police are reaching out to Smollett’s lawyer, saying they still want to be interviewed. him again because new information has “shifted” their investigation.
19 February 2019
– Chicago Attorney General, Cook County Attorney Kim Fox, refuses to investigate. Her office says the decision was made “out of great care … to answer potential impartiality questions based on familiarity with potential witnesses in the case.”
20 February 2019
– The prosecutor’s office accuses Smollett of hooliganism. for filing a false police report on an alleged attack.
February 21, 2019
– Chicago police say Smollett is surrendering on hooliganism charges punishable by up to three years in prison.
– Superintendent of Chicago Police Eddie Johnson says Smollett orchestrated the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity. Investigators say they have a check for $ 3,500, which Smollett used to pay two brothers to help him.
22 February 2019
– Producers of Empire state that Smollett’s character will be removed. from the last two episodes of the season.
March 7, 2019
– Cook County Grand Jury Returns 16-count indictment of Smollett for false reporting.
March 26, 2019
“Smollett’s lawyers say the charges that he lied to the police have been dropped.
March 28, 2019
– A city official says Chicago is asking for $ 130,000. from Smollett to cover the costs of an investigation into his alleged beating, which police said was staged.
April 11, 2019
– City of Chicago is filing a lawsuit seeking to recover the costs of the investigation.
April 15, 2019
– The Cook County Attorney’s Office issues thousands of documents. in Smollett’s case, in response to requests for open records, including text from Fox, in which Smollett called a “washed up celebrity” who was being paid too much for.
April 23, 2019
“The brothers who said they helped Smollett orchestrate the attack filed a libel suit. against the actor’s lawyers.
23 Aug 2019
– Judge names former US Attorney Dan Webb. as special attorney to investigate why the charges against Smollett were dropped.
11 February 2020
– Webb says the grand jury will return the six-count indictment. against Smollett, accusing him of lying to the police.
24 February 2020
– Smollett pleads not guilty to recovered charges…
October 15, 2021
– Judge James Lynn denies the latest attempt to dismiss the criminal case against Smollett and set the trial for November 29th.
Check out full AP coverage the Jussie Smollett case.