NATIONAL NEWS

Police Release More Than 1,000 Files From Smollett Probe

Jun 25, 2019, 9:00 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:04 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police on Monday released more than 1,000 files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett’s claim he was attacked by two men, including video footage that for the first time shows the “Empire” actor with a thin, white rope wrapped around his neck that he told detectives was a noose.

The footage from body cameras worn by police officers who responded on Jan. 29 to what Smollett said was a racist and homophobic attack by two large men has Smollett’s face blurred out because, as police explained, he was considered a victim at that point. The footage shows officers walking into the apartment, where they encounter the actor wearing the rope, before one asks him, “Do you want to take it off or anything?”

“Yeah, I do. I just wanted you all to see it,” Smollett says before unwinding the rope, loosening it and placing it on the kitchen counter.

Police have said he told them the attackers wrapped the rope around his neck.

In the video, he tells officers that the attackers poured bleach on him. After he is informed about the recording Smollett says he doesn’t want to be filmed and the camera is turned off.

In all, police released nearly 1,200 different individual files on Monday, including thousands of pages of documents, arrest reports and handwritten notes from police. Added up, there is more than 90 hours of video, much of it hour after hour of surveillance cameras high above city streets.

As the hunt for the two men Smollett said attacked him continued for weeks, some in the city started to wonder if the whole thing was a hoax. And those suspicions made it into the documents.

On Feb. 1, Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki urged investigators to confirm key information given by Smollett about the night in question: “Verify and I mean verify that the victim got off a plane at O’Hare. Big issue if that was a lie. CALL me as soon as this is completed.”

It was, in fact, confirmed.

Then on Feb. 25, a sergeant sent an email saying that she’d received a tip from a caller whose name is redacted. “He has a friend close to the inner circle of the subject,” the email reads. “The friend shared that the entire event was orchestrated by (redacted).”

The footage itself illustrates the growing skepticism within the Chicago Police Department, starting with the fact that much of it was retrieved from surveillance cameras. Police collected the footage as they tried to piece together the route that two brothers took across the city to the spot where police say they acted out a staged attack of the actor.

The department released footage that shows the two brothers, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, in a cab the night of the incident. Both are wearing what appear to be light-colored hazmat suits and gloves, with one of the brothers tightening his around his face.

There is also footage of officers handcuffing the brothers — who have acknowledged participating in a staged attack — on the tarmac at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when they returned on a flight to Chicago from Nigeria, and putting them in police cars for a trip to a city police station where they were detained.

Monday’s release of documents and video files was not expected to shed much new light on what happened — largely because so much information has already been made public in the case. In February, for example, when the charges were announced, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in minute detail how investigators came to conclude that the incident was not a hate crime as Smollett claimed but a carefully staged hoax directed by the actor himself to promote his career.

Also, in the wake of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office’s stunning announcement in March that it was dropping all the charges against Smollett, the Police Department released more than 700 pages of documents and Foxx’s office released another 2,000 pages of documents, including internal office communications.

Police said when Smollett was charged that there was no footage of the actual staged attack because the surveillance camera they said Smollett hoped would capture the incident was, unbeknownst to him, not working.

Among the footage released Monday is that of Smollett’s creative director Frank Gatson meeting officers in the lobby of the Chicago high-rise apartment building and giving them a summary of the evening as they take the elevator to Smollett’s apartment. Gatson tells officers that the alleged attack made him emotional.

“They put a makeshift, what do you call that thing, a noose around his (expletive) neck,” he tells officers.

On Monday, Smollett’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

Fox Entertainment announced in April that Smollett would not appear in the sixth and final season of “Empire.”

___

Associated Press writers Ed White and Roger Schneider contributed to this report from Detroit.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Manuel Rocha sitting at a desk smiling...

Denise Royal, Carlos Suarez and Ray Sanchez, CNN

Former US diplomat sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to spying for Cuba

Manuel Rocha, the former US ambassador to Bolivia who acted as a secret foreign agent of Cuba, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges Friday

4 hours ago

The Google sign is shown over an entrance to the company's new building in New York on Wednesday, S...

Adam Beam and Tran Nguyen, Associated Press

In threat to legislature, Google removes news sites from searches

In an acting threat against the California legislature, Google began removing California news websites from searches on Friday.

4 hours ago

FILE - Border Patrol station in Harlingen, Texas. (David Pike/Valley Morning Star via AP, File)Cred...

Associated Press

Amid increased enforcement in Mexico, US Border arrests fall

Arrests for illegally crossing the US border fell by 2.3% from February to March.

4 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, listens as his attorne...

Alanna Durkin Richer and Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press

Judge rules Hunter Biden gun case will move forward, rejects political motivation

A Delaware federal judge refused to dismiss a case against Hunter Biden, rejecting claims about its political motivation.

4 hours ago

Handcuffs...

Carolyn Thompson and Jim Mustian, AP

DEA Agent convicted for obstruction, walks away from Buffalo bribe charges

A federal jury convicted a former DEA agent of obstruction, but could not reach a verdict on bribery charges.

4 hours ago

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 12: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump and...

Lisa Mascaro and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

Trump gives support to embattled Speaker Mike Johnson at pivotal Mar-a-Lago meet

Donald Trump has given his support to embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson during a visit to the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Police Release More Than 1,000 Files From Smollett Probe