Jussie Smollett: Timeline from Attack to Arrest

Jussie Smollett Arrested

Three weeks ago, actor Jussie Smollett told the Chicago police that two men attacked him, slipped a noose around his neck and yelled homophobic and racial slurs at him; he was a victim of a hate crime. Law enforcement  now believe that Smollett was lying all along. He was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report and after turning himself in, he was arrested.

Below is a timeline of  the key moments in this saga:

January 22: Racist, homophobic letter arrives at Empire set

— The week before he was attacked, Smollet received a letter mailed to him at the Fox studio where Empire is filmed.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Smollett explained to the police that he received a strange letter where the return address section of the envelope, the letters “MAGA” were written, in red ink.

In opening the letter, they found a sheet of white paper, with a threat in cut-out letters. It read, “You will die black f*g”. There was also a white powder in the envelope, but according to the police, it was found out to be crushed acetaminophen, a pain reliever found in Tylenol, police said.

January 28: Smollett is attacked

— The Chicago police stated that they received a report from Smollett stating that on Monday, January 28th, while walking back to his apartment, he was attacked by two white men who were wearing ski masks. He was beaten up and the attackers then poured “an unknown chemical substance” on him, and put a noose around his neck. TMZ reported that the men also call Smollett “that f**got Empire n*****” and yell, “This is MAGA country.” (Smollett is black and openly gay.)

That same night, Smollett checks into Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he is reported to be in “good condition.”

January 30: An outpouring of support from celebs & Police hunt for suspects

— After his attack, celebrities from across the country came out in support for Jussie.

Empire creator Lee Daniels posts an emotional video on Instagram, syaing: “Hold your head up Jussie. I’m with you”.

California Senator Kamala Harris called Smollett “one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know”:

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted “Four years ago Jussie Smollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today,”

Comedian Steve Harvey said: “This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred and racism and bigotry.”

— Later in the day, the Chicago Police Department releases an image of the two “potential persons of interest,” The image was captured by a security camera that was in the area.

January 30: Jussie refuses to hand over his phone

 NBC News reported that Jussie Smollett refused to share telephone records that could show that he was talking to his manager, when the attack happened.

The police wanted to look at the records to confirm specific details. They stated that Jussie’s manager had told them that he heard the attackers say, “This is MAGA country.

The police asked Smollett for a copy of the phone records to confirm the call and he refused to share it with them.

A day later, the police say: “He’s a victim. We don’t treat him like a criminal.”

February 1: Jussie Smollett speaks for the first time

— Jussie’s family releases a statement. The state that the attack was a ‘racial and homophobic hate crime’: They also highlighted that, the actor’s relatives insist he “has told the police everything” and “his story has never changed,” The last statement was to dispute the growing uncertainty on social media, where it was being said that he been less than cooperative and changed his story.

February 2: First Public Appearance

— At the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, Smollett makes his first public appearance at a sold-out show, where he opens up about his attack.

He tells the sold out crowd that “I had to be here tonight, y’all. I can’t let (them) win,” fighting back tears. “I have so many words in my heart. The most important thing I have to say is thank you so much and that I’m OK. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to. And I’m gonna stand strong with y’all.” Smollett also said he had to play the show because he “couldn’t let his attackers win.”

He ends by stating that “I’m the gay Tupac,”.


February 12: Smollett submits phone records.

— Jussie Smollett gives the Chicago police a PDF file of his phone records, after he initially refused to do so.

With the phone records in hand, the police say the phone records were heavily redacted (numbers covered up) and that the files were not sufficient.

Smollett says that the information had to be covered up, as he wanted to protect the privacy of contacts and people not relevant to the attack.

February 13: Suspects Identified & Brought in For Questioning

— Chicago police pick up two brothers of Nigerian descent at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after they returned to the USA. During questioning, detectives learn that at least one of the brothers had appeared on “Empire” and the police then carry out a search of their residences.

February 14: Good Morning America interview and the “potential persons of interest”

— On Valentine’s Day, Smollett does a national television interview on “Good Morning America,”. He gives his first in-depth recount about what actually happened the night of the attack, as well sought to address the rumors that the attack was not real.

Smollett told Good Morning America co-anchor, Robin Roberts that “You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this,”. He went on to say that “I’ve heard that it was a date gone bad, which I so resent that narrative,” he told Roberts. “I’m not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That’s ridiculous. And it’s offensive.” He says he is convinced that the men in the surveillance images were his attackers. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”

—  Chicago police pick up two brothers of Nigerian descent at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after they returned to the USA. During questioning, detectives learn that at least one of the brothers had appeared on “Empire” and the police then carry out a search of their residences.

— Chicago police deny the rumors that Smollet’s attack was a hoax.

— Producers of Empire also addressed the rumors that the actor planned the whole thing, because it was said he was being written off of “Empire”

February 15:  Persons of Interest are Now Suspects, Later Released.

—  On February 15th, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the two “persons of interest” are now being considered as potential suspects. He says the men are in custody but have not been charged with a crime.

— Later in the day, the two brothers are released. The police said that they are no longer considered to be suspects.

In a tweet, Guglielmi  said that “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,”

February 16: Suggestions That Smollett was the Mastermind Behind the Attack

— The Chicago Tribune reported that police are looking into the possibility of Smollett paying the two brothers to stage the attack. This comes from information garnered from the brothers while in custody.

— With the controversy brewing, Smollett released a statement. He insisted that the attack did occur.”Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth.”

The statement went on to state that the two brothers worked with Jussie on Empire.

February 17: Follow-up Interview.

Chicago police were looking to have a follow-up interview with Smollett, after the two brothers told detectives that that the actor had paid them to stage the attack.

February 19:  Police Dismiss Unfounded Tip & Stcate Attorney Recuses Herself from the Case

— Chicago Police are quick to dismiss reports that Smollett was seen with assailants on night of attack. Detectives investigate and then dismiss the tip that Smollett was seen with the two brothers in an elevator in his apartment building, as it was not backed up by video evidence.

— Later in the day, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recuses herself from the case. This action done by Foxx was in relation to prosecutors questioning the two brothers as possible suspects.

Foxx says she made the decision “out of an abundance of caution” because of her “familiarity with potential witnesses in the case.”

February 20: Smollett Charged

— Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report about the attack. This comes hours after the actor was named as a suspect in criminal investigation for filing a false report.

February 21: Arrest & $3,500 Payment for Staged Attack.

—  On the morning of February 21, Smollett surrenders to Chicago police, where is arrested and his mugshot is taken. Guglielmi confirms, “Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives”

— At a press conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters that the actor faked both the letter and the January 28th attack because “he was dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire. Johnson explained that the actor staged the attack to look like a hate crime in order to “take advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”

He further explained, “First Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack… The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary so

— The judge, set Smollett’s bond at $100,000. Jussie will have to post $10,000 cash and surrender his passport to leave lock-up.

Categories Actor

Leave a Comment