Jussie Smollett kept a white noose around his neck that he claimed MAGA-chanting thugs put there on a cold January night to make police believe what was later proven to be a lie, according to new video released by the Chicago Police Department.
“Do you want to take it off or anything?” an officer asks the Empire actor.
“Yeah,” Smollett says. “I do. I just wanted y’all to see it.”
A short time later, he tells the officers that the perpetrators, who he described as “probably Caucasian” because of the “Make America Great Again” and homophobic comments they made, poured a chemical substance on him. “There’s bleach on me,” the video shows Smollett saying. “They poured bleach on me.”
The exchange, which was captured on an officer’s body-cam and shows Smollett then struggling to remove the thin white rope from around his neck, is part of a damning cache of evidence that could lead to new charges for the beleaguered star.
Smollett was initially charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting a crime after it emerged that he paid Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabingjo Osundairo $3,500 to stage the hate hoax. Then in March, just a few weeks after Smollett was booked, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx suddenly dropped the charges without explanation, except to say that it was due to Smollett’s “previous community service” and a product of his “agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago.”
“We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement at the time. Foxx later recused herself from the case.
The new video will undoubtedly call into question whether those charges should have been dropped. In one, Smollett’s creative director, who was at the apartment when the police arrived, can be heard telling officers that he he didn’t want his client’s celebrity status to “be a big deal” in their investigation.
In another, Smollett is heard telling them, “I don’t want to be filmed.” The officer obliged and turned off his bodycam.
The release of the controversial documents and videos follows a document drop on Friday, which included printouts of Smollett’s text messages to Abimobola Osundairo, one of which could be particularly incriminating. “Might need your help on the low,” Smollett wrote. “You around to meet to talk face to face.”
Text messages between the Osundairo brothers were also released, including one in which Olabinjo Osundairo uses homophobic language referring to Smollett as “fruity.”
The city of Chicago has launched a civil lawsuit against the actor to recoup the $130,000 spent on the investigation. The Chicago Sun Times also reports that the Osundairo brothers have filed a lawsuit against Smollett’s attorneys for defamation.