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A couple of guns, a fanny pack, and a copy of a Dr. Phil interview are among the disparate pieces of evidence that Chicago cops collected during their months-long investigation into accusations that actor Jussie Smollett staged a hate crime against himself.
The Chicago Police Department released nearly 500 pages related to the Smollett case on Thursday, months after prosecutors dropped all charges against the “Empire” actor without a clear reason. The files detail the extent that cops went to try to gather evidence, making stops at business throughout the city to try to get security footage and executing search warrant after search warrant.
It’s clear law enforcement left no stone unturned or fanny pack unzipped. The list of evidence takes up six full pages of the newly released documents. Despite the breadth of the investigation, which initially led to charging Smollett with 16 felonies, the documents don’t reveal — or even offer clues — to a motive.
Smollett, who’s black and gay, allegedly paid two men more than $3,500 to stage his assault in January. They poured bleach on him out of a hot sauce container (presumably so that it wouldn’t drip too fast), tied a noose around his neck, and yelled racist and homophobic slurs. They also beat him up — but only “trying to ‘bruise him’ without hurting him too badly,” according to the now-public documents. (Data shows that almost no hate crimes are faked.)
After the Cook County State Attorney’s office dropped the charges against Smollett in March, Chicago’s then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed their disappointment, to put it lightly. Emanuel — a man known for mailing a dead fish to a guy he didn’t like — also wants Smollett to pay the city $130,000 for all the trouble he caused. Smollett has so far refused and maintains that he's an innocent victim.
“Is there no decency in this man?” Emanuel asked after the charges were dropped.
Here are some highlights from the list of evidence the Chicago Police Department collected in the course of the investigation:
A bunch of cell phones with records of what appear to be drug deals
Smollett allegedly hired two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to help him stage the hate crime. They flew to Nigeria the day after the attack and were arrested at the airport when they returned to Chicago two weeks later.
One of them had a phone on him, the other had three. And the cops executed a search warrant to see what was on them.
Police found records of the pair’s communication with Smollett, including what looked a lot like Smollett arranging to buy drugs from one of the brothers and sending payment for said drugs over Venmo.
“You still got a molly connect?” Smollett texted Abimbola Osundairo. “Imma need a good fo pills Hahah.”
Guns and ammo
The cops collected a Hi-Point 9MM pistol, along with its magazine and a bunch of live ammo, and a Mossberg .22-caliber rifle with a scope. There was also a laser sight for a gun and a box labeled Hornady 00 buck shotgun shells.
Smollett wasn’t shot in the alleged attack, but the weapons were collected from a vault in the Osundairos’ apartment.
A disc that contained a copy of Dr. Phil’s interview with a TMZ reporter
The cops apparently watched the TV psychologist’s interview with TMZ’s Harvey Levin with great interest. They stashed a video copy in evidence and wrote up a two-page summary of it.
In the interview, Levin shares images of a check for $3,500 that Smollett allegedly paid to his two would-be assailants. But Levin claimed the money wasn’t payment for faking the attack, as the brothers told police, but was instead compensation for personal training.
Dr. Phil then contributed his own on-air analysis of a statement Smollett issued to the press, in which Smollett swore to God that he hadn’t staged the attack.
“You know that I’ve spent a lot of my career in deception detection,” Phil said. “Whenever you’re talking to somebody and they say, ‘I swear to God,’ almost always next thing out of their mouth’s a damn lie.”
A fanny pack
There was no indication in the police files of how this was used in the alleged crimes.
A copy of Allure magazine
It was the October 2015 issue. The cops turned it over to the FBI.
Read the full list of evidence below:
Cover image: Chicago police are preparing to release a trove of documents relating to the Jussie Smollett alleged hate crime hoax. (zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 5/14/18 Jussie Smollett at The 2018 Fox Network Upfront in New York City.)