Smollett case could be re-opened; new body cam footage shows him with noose

By Nicholas Sakelaris

June 25 (UPI) -- Chicago police released new video that shows actor Jussie Smollett with a noose still around his neck when police arrive to question him in his apartment after his alleged attack Jan. 29.

Smollett, who is black and gay, alleged that he was the victim of a hate crime where masked men attacked him and made racist and homophobic comments. The former "Empire" star has a thin rope around his neck in a body cam video.


Upon entering Smollett's apartment, one officer asks if he wants to take the noose off.

"Yeah, I do. I just wanted you all to see it. They poured bleach on me," Smollett said as he undoes the noose. "They poured bleach on me."

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Chicago police released hundreds of videos Monday from the Smollett case, including hundreds of pages of text messages, emails and internal documents.

Initially, police believed his story and pursued the suspects in the case. But the tables turned on Smollett as detectives pieced together what happened that night and accused him of staging the attack for publicity. He was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report in March. Police said the actor's personal trainers admitted to accepting payment from Smollett to stage the attack.


Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said at the time that Smollett took "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

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Police also point to a text from Smollett saying, "Might need your help on the low." That could be a reference to him needing the brothers to orchestrate a phony attack on him.

Smollett said he is innocent and in March, all charges were dropped against him in exchange for community service and court fees.

A judge ruled Friday that a special prosecutor should investigate Cook County Attorney Kimberly Foxx's handling of the case and why it was dropped. That could open the door for Smollett to be charged again.

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"The unprecedented irregularities in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public's confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system," Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin said.

Text messages between Smollett and his personal trainers, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, show he regularly bought drugs from them. The Osundairo brothers also have a stockpile of weapons at their house.

Regardless of whether the case is re-opened, Smollett won't return for Empire's final season and he faces a lawsuit from the city of Chicago for the police overtime used to investigate the alleged hate crime. Smollett's attorneys also face a lawsuit from the Osundairo brothers.


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