Chicago police came out swinging Wednesday and released the full 61-page investigative report in the alleged Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax, one day after charges against the "Empire" star were dramatically dropped — but the move prompted a moot court order.
The release of the documents comes one day after Cook County prosecutors dismissed a 16-count indictment against the actor, saying they had cut a deal with the tv star to perform two days of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city.
The move made it possible for Smollett’s attorneys to get his criminal case immediately sealed and wiped clean.
About an hour after the department released the files, the Chicago Police reportedly became subject of a court order that barred them from releasing further files even though they were widely available online.
The dismissal of charges against Smollett over an alleged attack drew a swift backlash from the city’s mayor and police chief and raised questions about why Smollett was not forced to admit what prosecutors had said they could prove in court — that the entire episode was a publicity stunt.
The police files – some of which were redacted to remove witness names and personal information – lays out steps taken by detectives to get to the bottom of what happened the night of Jan. 29.
Smollett claims he was attacked around 2 a.m. on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and tied a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
The news of such a heinous attack quickly garnered national attention and the Chicago police department was widely criticized for their handling of the situation.
Soon though, the tides shifted and investigators accused Smollett of making the whole thing up because he was unhappy with his pay on "Empire" and believed the publicity ginned up from the incident would promote his career.
Wednesday’s released report sheds light on some of the behind-the-scenes moves investigators and prosecutors made to interview witnesses and throw off reporters.