“This is, without a doubt, a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power, you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way. There is no accountability.” – Rahm Emanuel
What a choice set of words from the former mayor. “Whitewash”. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of months, you’ve probably heard of the Jussie Smollett legal case. Here is a timeline of the Jussie Smollett case:
- January 22: Racist, homophobic letter arrives at Empire set
- January 28: Smollett is attacked
- January 30: Police look into “persons of interest”
- The Chicago Police Department releases an image of the two “potential persons of interest,” as captured by a nearby security camera.
- January 31: Smollett’s family responds
- Smollett’s family condemns the attackin a statement, saying, “To be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime.”
- February 2: Smollett makes first public appearance
- At the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, Smollett makes his first public appearance ata sold-out show, where he opens up about his attack and says he will “always stand for love.”
The most important thing I have to say is thank you so much and that I’m okay,” he says. “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to. And I’m gonna stand strong with y’all … And I hope that you all will stand with me. – Jussie Smollett
- February 13: Two men are arrested
- CPD arrests two men on suspicion of carrying out the attack against Smollett. They are later identified as Nigerian brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, who have connections to Empire. (In 2015, the former appeared as an extra.)
- February 14: Good Morning America interview and the “potential persons of interest”
- Smollett visits the Good Morning America studio on Valentine’s Day, where he gives his first in-depth interview about what transpired the night of the attack. At this point, some were starting to question the validity of Smollett’s account, as well as why he was apprehensive about giving his phone to the police, all of which Smollett addresses on the show.
- February 15: The two suspects are released
- “Due to new evidence,” CPD releases the two suspects and drops the charges against them.
- February 16: CPD sources suggest that Smollett may have orchestrated the attack
- Two law-enforcement sources tell CNNthat CPD believes Smollett may have paid the two men, who are now cooperating with the police, to stage the attack against him. According to the sources, CPD has records of the two released suspects purchasing the rope that was tied around Smollett’s neck.
- February 18: Smollett’s attorneys say they will “keep an active dialogue” with CPD
- While CPD says that Smollett is not a suspect at this time, the police department tells his legal team that they want to speak with him again about the night of January 29. Per Smollett’s attorneys, he denies that he had anything to do with the attack.
- In an emailed statement earlier Monday, Anne Kavanaugh, a spokesperson for Smollett’s lawyers, said that his legal team “will keep an active dialogue with Chicago police on his behalf.”
- February 19: Smollett is cut from Empire episodes
- Amid conflicting reports about the case, sources tell Deadlinethat Empire has slashed the yet-to-be-filmed scenes in which Smollett was set to appear. Meanwhile, CPD is still requesting that Smollett submit to an interview, but the actor’s attorneys have not yet indicated when — if ever — he will be willing to speak with police.
- Later in the evening, two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CBS Chicago that the Osundairo brothers are claiming that Smollett sent himself the racist letter that arrived at the Empire set; they also say that Smollett staged the attack after the letter didn’t spark the outcry he sought.
- February 20: Call from Smollett’s attorneys delays grand jury testimony and Smollett is considered a suspect
- Just minutes before the Osundairo brothers are scheduled to testify in front of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse grand jury, CBS Chicago reports that Cook County State’s Attorney’s office receives a call from Smollett’s attorneys, leading prosecutors to postpone the testimony. (The specifics of the call have not yet been reported.)
- February 21: Smollett turns himself in to police custody
- In the early morning, Smollett turns himself in to police custody, where he is arrested and charged with filing a false police report. (If found guilty, Smollett could serve up to three years.)
- Hours later, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson holds a press briefing, where he essentially confirms all the details that anonymous sources have been leaking to the media: that Smollett orchestrated the attack because he was dissatisfied with his Empire salary on the TV series, and that he sent the threatening letter to himself.
- March 8: Smollett is indicted
- A Cook County grand jury indicts Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, which one of his lawyers calls “prosecutorial overkill.”
- March 14: Smollett pleads not guilty
- At the conclusion of the arraignment hearing, the court decides that Smollett will make his next appearance on April 17.
- March 26: All criminal charges are dropped
- Just over two months after the alleged hate crime, Smollett emerges from an “emergency court appearance” with shocking news: the prosecution has decided to drop all criminal charges against him; in turn, he will forfeit his bond and perform community service.
“Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him,” reads a statement from Smollett’s lawyers. “Jussie was attacked by 2 people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public, causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.” – Smollett’s attorney
We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation, Jussie Smollett” in a statement released by Chicago Police Department.
I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day One,” Smollett told reporters at a Chicago courthouse. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life. – Jussie Smollett
“There is no deferred prosecution,” said his attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes made a statement that Smollett “voluntarily” forfeited his bond and that there was no deal made with prosecutors. She further warned the Chicago Police Department not to “try their cases in the press.”
We’ve all been taken by surprise with this one. The case has now been sealed. So, we’ll never know.