A $100,000 bond was set Thursday afternoon for “Empire” star Jussie Smollett after he turned himself into police. Investigators have a mountain of evidence suggesting that he staged a hate crime hoax against himself.
Late last month, the openly gay black actor claimed he was attacked in Chicago by two white President Trump supporters who recognized him from “Empire,” shouted racist and anti-gay slurs at him, and yelled “This is MAGA country!” while physically assaulting him, pouring bleach on his head, and looping a rope around his neck.
Now a bond proffer reveals incredible details about what the police believe did happen, based on the mountain of evidence they’ve collected and the testimonies of Ola and Abel Osundairo, two Nigerian brothers who admitted to being paid by Smollett to fake the attack on him.
Here are the new details, according to police:
Smollett has been close friends with Abel since fall of 2017. Their relationship includes exercising together and working together on “Empire,” where Abel, an extra, played a character that was a love interest of Smollett’s character.
According to text messages, Abel has been dealing Ecstasy to Smollett since the spring of 2008. Smollett referred to the narcotic by its street name, “Molly.”
The staged attack was planned to happen right before Abel and his brother Ola were to leave for their pre-planned trip to Nigeria. Smollett initiated talk of the hoax by texting Abel, “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?”
After giving Abel the details of the planned attack, Smollett suggested he get his brother Ola to help. Smollett told them what racist, anti-gay slurs to yell at him and instructed them to shout, “This is MAGA Country.”
Smollett gave Abel a $3,500 with a personal check made payable to him. Abel deposited the check the same day.
Smollett gave Abel a $100 bill to purchase items used in the attack, such as ski masks, red baseball caps that looked like MAGA hats, gloves, rope, and gasoline. Smollett originally wanted them to pour gasoline on his head but switched it to bleach. The brothers were caught on surveillance footage at a store buying some of those items.
While rehearsing the attack, “Smollett directed the brothers’ attention toward a surveillance camera on the corner, which he believed would capture the incident.” The camera was pointed the wrong direction on the night of the attack and didn’t capture it.
At the time of the attack, an NBC News Chicago employee was getting out of her car just around the corner. She told police she heard no fight nor any shouts or slurs.
After the attack, Smollett told police he knew his attackers were white because he could see light skin around their eyes through the ski masks’ eyeholes. The Osundairo brothers are black.
The brothers left a trail of evidence. The police used “surveillance videos, police pod videos, in-car taxi camera videos, rideshare records, credit card records, banks records, and a store receipt” to identify them and trace their movements. After raiding their apartment, they gathered more evidence from “text messages, phone records, social media records.”
After being confronted with the evidence against them, the brothers “agreed to cooperate in the investigation.”
Smollett’s lawyers insist that he’s innocent.
The scene was chaotic Thursday afternoon after Smollett met his bond and was released from custody.