Chicago police released a 61-page investigative file from their Jussie Smollett investigation on Wednesday, one day after prosecutors dropped all charges against the “Empire” star.
Obtained by the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets before the case was sealed by a judge, the records show how police built their case against Smollett using evidence they gathered and statements from the two brothers who said the actor paid them to stage the Jan. 31 attack. Names and other identifying information were redacted from the documents before they were made public.
The release comes a day after prosecutors dropped 16 felony charges after Smollett served two days of community service and agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment to the city.
The decision to drop the charges was met with swift condemnation from police brass and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called the decision a “whitewash of justice.” Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett’s legal team “chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”
Police said Smollett lied in falsifying a hate crime. He told police that two men beat him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs. Investigators accused Smollett of paying the men to stage the attack because he was dissatisfied with his pay on “Empire.” Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.
Prosecutors have said that while their decision to drop the charges against Smollett wipes the actor’s record clean, it does not exonerate him.
“We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case,” First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats said. “The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence.”
“For people who do this work every day, who recognize what the charges are — this is a Class 4 felony — for people who are in the weeds of this, we recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a prison sentence for a Class 4 felony is slim,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in an interview with Chicago news station WBEZ.”If you took the celebrity out of this … I think that gives greater clarity.”