Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Friday there‘s more evidence in the Jussie Smollett case that hasn‘t been revealed, but the evidence itself remains to be seen.
“As far as the evidence goes, we laid everything out in the bond proffer, the highlights of it, but there’s additional evidence out there that we haven’t released yet, but it’ll help support that the alleged incident didn’t occur the way that he claimed,” Johnson told NBC 5.
When asked what evidence the police department may have on the “Empire” star, Johnson said “video, text messages, as well as testimony.”
He noted that testimony involved in the case against Smollett comes from the two brothers he is accused of hiring to help the actor stage a hate crime attack on himself.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Good Morning America that there are witnesses and evidence that have not been presented. A member of Smollett‘s legal team however, continues to criticize the police. NBC 5‘s Ash-har Quraishi reports.
(Published Monday, Feb. 25, 2019)
Johnson‘s interview with NBC 5 failed to provide specifics that could indicate how prosecutors may prove the police department‘s narrative in the shocking case that stunned many across the country.
Smollett‘s defense is expected to argue the check police believe was payment for the hoax attack was actually for training to help Smollett get in shape for a music video shoot, according to sources familiar with the case.
Images of the check obtained by NBC 5 show a memo line that read “5 week nutrition/workout program (Don‘t go).” The check was dated Jan. 23, six days before Smollett claimed he was attacked in Chicago. Screenshots of text messages, confirmed to be authentic by sources familiar with the matter, also showed Smollett and one of the brothers discussing a meal plan and grocery list in the days before the alleged attack.
Authorities have also claimed Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary. Evidence surrounding that claim has not been released, but “Empire” producers wrote Smollett‘s character off the final two episodes of the season amid the ongoing investigation.
The attorney for the brothers involved in the alleged staged attack released a statement Thursday evening saying they have “tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation.”
“They understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves,” Gloria Schmidt said in the statement.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook Couty Jail to a black SUV amid a crush of reporters and cameramen.
(Published Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019)
Police say Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed two masked men attacked him last month in downtown Chicago, hurling slurs and looping a rope around his neck. Investigators say he planned the hoax, soliciting the help of a friend and the friend‘s brother, because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.
Smollett and has maintained his innocence.
“The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election,” Smollett‘s legal team said in a statement last week. “Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence.”
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC Sunday the department stands behind its investigation.