Recently released records show disgraced Empire actor Jussie Smollett denied to the Chicago Police Department that Abel and Ola Osundairo were his attackers, citing their dark skin color.
According to the approximately 460-pages of new documents, detectives interviewed Jussie Smollett on February 14th, shortly after the Osundairo brothers were taken into police custody. Authorities presented two photos to Smollett, to which he identified the individual in it “as his trainer, his friend, and an extra on ‘Empire.’” He claimed to police he knew the pictured person for a year and was his trainer for a month.
“Victim [redacted] realized that the photos he viewed were of the persons that were in custody at this time. Victim [redacted] said it can’t be them, ‘They are black as sin,’” the police document reads.
The actor also told detectives he enjoyed a “good relationship” with the brothers, saying, “They are straight so we don’t have any problems with women or men. They did not owe me any money, I don’t owe them any money.”
The documents in the Smollett case released Thursday also show that prosecutors told Chicago police detectives that a possible deal with the Empire actor was in the works a month before charges against him were dropped.
Documents show detectives investigating Smollett’s claim he was the victim of a hate crime were told by Cook County prosecutors a deal with Smollett could include a $10,000 fine and community service. The detectives did not pass the information to superiors.
“They didn’t pass it on because they didn’t know it (the case) was going to be handled the way it was,” said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Smollett was charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he’d been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Police contend the black and openly gay actor staged the attack because he was unhappy with his TV salary and wanted publicity. Prosecutors dropped charges on March 26 without Smollett admitting guilt.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed outrage over the prosecutors’ decision.
Detectives note the Chicago Police Department was informed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office on February 28th that they could no longer investigate the crime. Smollett was indicted on March 7. The lead investigators in the case met with Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier, who informed detectives “that she felt the case would be settled with Smollett paying the city of Chicago $10,000 in restitution and doing community service.”
The city of Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into his reported beating. The city claims about two dozen detectives and officers investigated the entertainer’s report that he was attacked, resulting in a “substantial number of overtime hours.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.