On January twenty-eighth, 2018, actor Jussie Smollett reported that he was a victim of a homophobic and racist hate crime in downtown Chicago. He claimed that he was attacked a two a.m near his apartment on his way home from Subway. He reported that two white men began yelling racist and homophobic slurs, shouted, “This is MAGA country” beat him, then tied a noose around this neck. When Smollett returned home, he contacted the authorities. According to the body cameras of the officers that arrived, Smollett still had the noose on when they entered his apartment. A list of his injuries was documented; redness to the neck, soreness in the back, ribs, and shoulders, an unspecified ailment in the lower hip, and cuts to both of the cheeks.
After the alleged attack people shared their support for Smollett as he went on to make many press statements and speeches. Through the masses of support, skeptics began to emerge. The skeptics wanted surveillance footage of the attack, they also wanted to know why there were no witnesses. The Chicago police stated that they had at least a dozen detectives working to find relevant footage of the attack.
Authorities became increasingly more suspicious of the validity of Smollett’s claims. Their suspicions were justified when brothers, Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo claimed that Smollett had paid them to help stage a hate crime. The Nigerian brothers stated that Smollett paid them $3,500 to assist him in staging a hate crime. Smollett denied that the brothers were the attackers. However, he did admit to knowing the brothers, but stated that any communication they had was strictly for a fitness program that the brothers were putting him through. He also said that any money he paid the brothers had to do with the aforementioned fitness program.
On February twenty-first, Smollett was arrested for felony charge of disorderly conduct. A Cook County judge set the bond to be $100,000. Later that same afternoon, a friend of Smollett posted $10,000, realizing Smollett form the county jail. Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, believes that the reason Smollett faked the attacks was “he was dissatisfied with his salary” on his show Empire. Smollett’s legal team maintained the notion that he was innocent, “Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
In March Smollett pled “not guilty” to sixteen charges of disorderly conduct. Strangely, five days later, Cook county prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett. Their reasoning for this was, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” In response to the prosecutors dropping the case, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin, required that a new special prosecutor look into the case. Dan Webb was appointed as the special prosecutor. Judge Michael Toomin gave Dan Webb and his team the authority to file new charges against Smollett or anyone else involved.