Jussie Smollett Update: A Timeline of What's Unfolded - NBC Chicago

Jussie Smollett Update: A Timeline of What's Unfolded

All Charges Dropped Against 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett

Cook County prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett in a stunning development. Prosecutors charged Smollett with filing a false police report following an alleged racist and homophobic attack by two men late January. (Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019)

What to Know

  • All criminal charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett were dropped Tuesday, his legal team said

  • Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct earlier this month

  • Chicago police alleged he staged a hate crime attack on himself in January

In less than two months, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's case has taken turn after turn. But not even city officials knew what was coming on Tuesday. 

It all started when the actor and singer told police in January that two men physically attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. 

Here's a look back at everything that has happened since: 

Jan. 29

  • Jussie Smollett tells Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while out getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. The black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an "unknown substance" on him. Police say Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in "MAGA country," an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan that some critics of Trump have decried as racist and discriminatory.

Jan. 30

Authorities Locate Photos of Persons of Interest in Smollett CaseAuthorities Locate Photos of Persons of Interest in Smollett Case

There are new developments on that alleged hate crime and beating of 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi has the latest details. 

(Published Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019)

Jan. 31

  • Trump tells reporters at the White House that he saw a story the night before about Smollett and that, "It doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned."
  • Smollett's family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime. Smollett's family says he "has told the police everything" and "his story has never changed," disputing assertions leveled on social media that he has been less than cooperative and changed his story.

Feb. 1

  • Smollett issues a statement telling people that he is OK and thanking them for their support. He says he is working with authorities and has been "100 percent factual and consistent on every level."

Feb. 2

Feb. 12

Feb. 14

Smollett Speaks Out for First Time After Alleged AttackSmollett Speaks Out for First Time After Alleged Attack

For the first time, actor Jussie Smollett spoke out Friday about the attack that drew national headlines this week. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi has more. 

(Published Friday, Feb. 1, 2019)

Feb. 15 

Feb. 16

  • Police say the investigation has "shifted" after detectives question the two brothers about the attack and release them without charges. Police say they've requested a follow-up interview with Smollett. Smollett's lawyers say the actor feels "victimized" by reports that he played a role in the assault.
  • Smollett's account of what happened is met with some skepticism on social media in the wake of the new developments.

Feb. 17

  • Chicago police say they're still seeking a follow-up interview with Smollett after receiving new information that "shifted" their investigation of a reported attack on the "Empire" actor. Guglielimi says police reached out to Smollett's attorney, but says an interview has not been conducted.
  • Guglielimi declines to address reports that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case, saying: "We're not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we've gotten."

Feb. 19

  • Chicago police investigate tip that on the night Smollett reported being attacked, he was in an elevator of his apartment building with the two Nigerian brothers. Police later dismiss the tip, saying it's not credible based on video evidence.
  • Chicago's top prosecutor, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, recuses herself from the investigation. Her office says the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution ... to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case." No details were provided. Foxx later says the reason for the recusal is that she had conversations with a Smollett family member after the incident was reported in late January.

Feb. 20

Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing a False Police ReportJussie Smollett Charged With Filing a False Police Report

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. Natalie Martinez reports.
(Published Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019)

  • Chicago police say Smollett is officially suspected of filing a false police report when he said he was a victim of a racist, homophobic attack in downtown Chicago late last month. Police also say that two brothers who were questioned about the attack were testifying before a grand jury and detectives were presenting evidence to the grand jury.
  • Chicago police say the Cook County State's Attorney has charged Smollett with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report that he was attacked by two masked men. Police detectives were contacting Smollett's attorneys to arrange his surrender for arrest. 

Feb. 21 

Smollett Turns Himself in on Disorderly Conduct Charge: CPDSmollett Turns Himself in on Disorderly Conduct Charge: CPD

Actor Jussie Smollett turned himself in to police Thursday morning, a Chicago police spokesman said, on a felony charge of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report. Lauren Petty reports.

(Published Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019)

  • Chicago police say Smollett turned himself in to face a felony charge of disorderly conduct, which could bring up to three years in prison.
  • Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity. Investigators say they have a $3,500 check that Smollett used to pay the two brothers to help him.
Smollett Staged Chicago Attack to 'Promote His Career': PoliceSmollett Staged Chicago Attack to 'Promote His Career': Police

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson addresses the arrest of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. 

(Published Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019)
Feb. 22
  • "Empire" producers announce plans to remove Smollett's character from the final two episodes of the season. 
Feb. 25
Feb. 28
  • A lawyer for the two brothers involved in the Smollett case releases a statement saying they "tremendous regret" over their involvement. 
March 1
March 7
  • An internal investigation at the Chicago Police Department has been opened regarding the possibility of information being leaked in the Jussie Smollett case, officials confirmed.
March 8
Hospital Workers Fired for Smollett Searches: SourcesHospital Workers Fired for Smollett Searches: Sources

At least 50 employees may have been fired from Northwestern Memorial Hospital for accessing the medical profile and records of 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett without authorization, sources with knowledge of the situation said. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi reports.

(Published Friday, March 8, 2019)
Jussie Smollett Update: Actor Indicted on 16 Felony CountsJussie Smollett Update: Actor Indicted on 16 Felony Counts
A Cook County grand jury indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts Friday in connection with his reporting of an alleged attack he claimed to have suffered in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood in late January. Ash-har Quraishi reports.
(Published Friday, March 8, 2019)
March 11
  • The attorney for two brothers involved in the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago says the pair have evidence backing their claims against the "Empire" actor.
Attorney for Brothers in Smollett Case Says They Have Proof Attorney for Brothers in Smollett Case Says They Have Proof

The attorney for two brothers involved in the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago says the pair have evidence backing their claims against the 'Empire' actor. NBC 5’s Ash-har Quraishi has the latest on the on-going saga.

(Published Monday, March 11, 2019)
March 12
  • Smollett appears in court as a judge rules that cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during his next hearing.
March 13
Emails Reveal Foxx Asked Johnson to Give FBI Smollett CaseEmails Reveal Foxx Asked Johnson to Give FBI Smollett Case

New documents showing text messages and email chains revealed Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's asked Supt. Eddie Johnson to turn the Jussie Smollett investigation over to the FBI before she recused herself from the case. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi has the latest.

(Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019)
March 14
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March 19

March 21

WATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges DroppedWATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges Dropped

Jussie Smollett makes a statement after appearing in court where prosecutors dropped all charges against him. 

(Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Furious Over Decision to Drop Smollett ChargesChicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Furious Over Decision to Drop Smollett Charges

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the decision to drop charges against "Empire" star a "whitewash of justice" insisting the actor had perpetrated a massive hoax against the city

(Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019)

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