Jussie Smollett Update: A Timeline of What’s Unfolded

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

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

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

  • 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 

  • 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.
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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
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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.
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March 12
  • Smollett appears in court as a judge rules that cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during his next hearing.
March 13
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March 14
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March 19

March 21

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