The Chicago Police Department on Monday released hours of video captured as part of their investigation into the alleged hate hoax orchestrated by former Empire actor Jussie Smollet earlier this years.
Included in the nearly 70 hours of video is footage of Smollett wearing the noose he alleged his so-called attackers looped around his neck during the racist and anti-gay assault against him. The disgraced entertainer can also be seen asking officers to shut off their body cameras after they enter his downtown Chicago apartment. The below video shows three officers walking into a room with Smollett, whose face is blurred out. One officer asks Jussie Smollett if he wishes to remove the noose and the actor does so.
Chicago police released the video days after a judge decided to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the decision by Cook County prosecutors to dismiss all charges Smollett. He was charged with lying to police regarding the incident. Prosecutors dropped the charges on March 26.
Smollett said two masked men on January 29th shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes. Police said Smollett hired two men, brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, both of whom are black, to attack him. Smollett allegedly paid the men $3,500.
In a Friday ruling that leaves open the possibility that Smollett could be charged again, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin suggested that the county’s state’s attorney, Kim Foxx, mishandled the Smollett case by appointing a top aide to oversee it after she recused herself.
Foxx had been in contact with a relative of the actor and had been approached by former first lady Michelle Obama’s one-time chief of staff on behalf of Smollett’s family, and she explained at the time that she was recusing herself to avoid “even the perception of a conflict” of interest.
In his ruling, Toomin said he had no problem with Foxx’s February recusal, but that it should have included a request for a special prosecutor to take over the case. He said she had no right to hand it off to someone from her office, which he said amounted to naming her own special prosecutor.
Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in season six of Empire, which is its last season.