Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police early Thursday morning, and is expected to appear in court later in the day.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson held a press briefing after the arrest and claimed that Smollett had fabricated the assault story because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the TV series.
“Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said.
Here’s everything CPD outlined during the press conference.
Police say Smollett sent a threatening letter to himself.
Less than a week before the attack, Smollett received a racist and homophobic letter containing white powder at the Fox studio where Empire is filmed.
Johnson said that Smollett sent the “false” letter to himself in an attempt to “gain attention.”
Smollett reportedly paid $3,500 to stage the attack.
Johnson said that when the false letter “didn’t work,” Smollett paid $3,500 to Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, two brothers who have connections to Empire, to stage the attack. In doing so, Johnson said, Smollett helped “drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud.”
Johnson also said that police have a check that Smollett allegedly wrote to the brothers for $3,500 split between the two of them in exchange for helping him stage the attack. He also said that phone records showed that Smollett spoke to the brothers on the phone “an hour or so” before the incident and after.
Smollett previously told police he was attacked by two masked men who beat him up, poured “an unknown chemical substance” on him, and put a noose around his neck as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop in Chicago on January 29.
Detective Commander Edward Wodnicki said that police learned at the time that Smollett was “not hurt other than scratches on his face. Maybe some bruising, but no broken ribs or serious injuries.”
Johnson said that as far as police could tell, the brothers may have “punched him a little bit,” but the scratches on his face were “most likely self-inflicted.”
Police executed over 50 search warrants in their investigation.
Wodnicki added that police executed over 50 search warrants and subpoenas during investigation of the case, and that the attorney for the Osundairo brothers had gone to Chicago PD because she believed that there was something “fishy” about the case. He also said that the brothers were not the ones who orchestrated the crime.
Police then worked with the men to document their story and get a timeline, which Wodnicki says investigators were able to substantiate.
Police are demanding an apology from Smollett.
When asked what he thought would bring justice to the case, Johnson said that an apology from Smollett would be a start.
Throughout the press conference, Johnson pointed out the hours and resources that Chicago police had spent on the case, adding that police were “pissed” when they learned his motive.
“It painted this city that we all love and work hard in in a negative connotation,” he said.
Prior to Smollett turning himself in, his lawyers released a statement saying that they would launch an “aggressive defense” of the actor, and that “like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence.”
Smollett is expected to appear in court later today. If found guilty of the charge of filing a false police report, he could face up to three years in prison.