Smollett, 37, was an actor on the Fox show “Empire” on January 29, 2019 when he reported to police that he had been attacked in Chicago in an incident that ended with a noose around his neck. Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime.
After investigating, then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, said Smollett had paid brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo — whom he met on the TV show — $3,500 to stage the attack for publicity.
Johnson said Smollett, who is gay and black, wanted to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
Smollett has repeatedly denied making up or orchestrating the attack.
Smollett was initially indicted in March on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct, charges that were later dropped.
A hate crime investigation
He said the attackers struck him, doused him with a chemical substance and put a noose around his neck.
With the rope and Smollett’s sweater in their custody, authorities began to investigate a possible hate crime. Interviews with more than 100 witnesses and extensive camera footage led police to take the Osundairo brothers into custody as they came through airport customs returning to the US on February 13.
Police reveal a new story
But after speaking with the brothers, their attorney told police “something smelled fishy.”
Legal and career fall out
After his release, Smollett went to the set to apologize to the cast and crew but maintained his innocence, a person at the meeting told CNN.
In March, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts.
Controversy over dropped charges
As a “deferred type of prosecution,” Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and do community service, Magats said.
Smollett’s attorneys saw it as vindication, but Chicago Mayor at the time Rahm Emmanuel described it as a “whitewash of justice” that sends a message that people with power and influence are held to a different standard.
Legal matters aren’t over
On Tuesday, Webb said in a statement his office “has now completed all of its investigative steps regarding Jussie Smollett, and has made the decision to further prosecute Mr. Smollett.”
A Cook County, Illinois, grand jury returned a six-count indictment against him for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime
Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian said the special prosecutor “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett.”
“Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence,” Glandian said in a statement.
Smollett is scheduled to appear in court February 24.
CNN’s Darran Simon, Faith Karimi, Jason Hanna, Lisa Respers France, Pierre Meilhan, Ray Sanchez, Sara Gonzalez, Ryan Young, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Amanda Watts and Brad Parks contributed to this report.