Jussie Smollett arrested
Jussie Smollett's bond was set at $100,000 and the actor must surrender his passport.
Smollett appeared in front of State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., moments ago.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett gave the two brothers connected to the staged attack $100 to buy supplies, according to text message read in court.
Prosecutors said Smollett asked the brothers to stage the attack, and directed the brothers on what to say, including the MAGA comments. The staged attack lasted 45-seconds. At least a minute later, the brothers are seen catching a ride to leave the scene, prosecutors said.
Police said surveillance video from a beauty supply store captured the day before the assault, appears to show the brothers purchasing a ski mask, sunglasses, a red hat and other items. They paid for the items in cash, according to the owner.
Smollett was seen taking a deep breath as prosecutors continued to read the text messages in court.
The actor appeared in front of State of Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. wearing the same clothes he wore in his mugshot.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is at the Cook County Courthouse and his bond hearing is underway, according to CNN’s Nick Watt and Rosalina Nieves, who are in the courtroom.
Smollett, who was wearing a black puffy jacket, gave his name during the hearing as his family stood by.
He was represented by an attorney from Geragos & Geragos law firm.
Political and civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, speaking to reporters, said Jussie Smollett, if liable, "ought to face accountability to the max."
"If Smollett is wrong, he ought to face accountability to the max. If it turns out another way, it ought to be that way," he said. "I think that what we have learned is that we have got to always look at these situations."
He was also asked if Democratic 2020 candidates Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker had jumped too soon to show support of Smollett, prompting Sharpton to question why the attention was on them.
"I think many came out, including President Trump. So again, let's not segregate who came out. Donald Trump came out and said it was horrible. Now did he not? So why are you only asking me about Booker and, and her? Are we having segregated selection here? A lot of people came out," he told a reporter.
Harris and Booker both called Smollett's descriptions of the alleged attack an "attempted modern-day lynching."
After the alleged attack, the President also responded, calling it "horrible." But today, Trump turned his criticism to Smollett following the actor's arrest, saying he made "dangerous comments."
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett — who faces a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming two men attacked him last month — is scheduled to have a bail hearing at 2:30 p.m. ET.
We'll be covering the hearing right here.
Under Illinois law, filing a false police report is disorderly conduct and punishable by one to three years in prison.
Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television released a new statement, saying they are considering their options following the latest in the Jussie Smollett case:
"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options."
The companies produce "Empire," which Smollett stars in.
President Trump just tweeted about Jussie Smollett's arrest, calling him out for claiming his attackers were Trump supporters.
Read the President's tweet:
What Smollett alleged happened: In an interview with ABC that aired on last Thursday, Smollett said one of the attackers said, "'This MAGA country, n****r' and he punched me in the face so I punched his a** back."
"It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more," Smollett said. "And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.
The star theorized that he had been targeted because of his vocal criticism against President Trump and his administration, telling Roberts, "I come really hard against 45."
Edward Wodnick, commander of the area central detective division, detailed the Chicago police department's extensive investigation into Jussie Smollett's hate crime allegations.
Here's a brief timeline:
- Morning of Jan. 29: Jussie Smollett reports he was the victim of a hate crime.
- The allegations: Police interview him at the hospital. He says two people yelled racial, homophobic and political statements at him, beat him, put a noose on his neck, threw bleach on him and fled, according to Wodnick. Smollett had scratches on his face.
- The investigation: Police launched a hate crime investigation and found two people of interest on a video. Investigators issued a community alert for information on them and searched the area for cameras and witnesses. They interviewed more than 100 people and found more than 55 cameras. "The city came together to investigate and help the police with this crime," Wodnick said.
- Persons of interest found: After reviewing the cameras, police discovered the alleged offenders fled in a cab, which detectives tracked down. Investigators interviewed the cab driver and got video from the cab. Police tracked their movements to a ride share, and it eventually led them to what "we needed in order to identify the two persons of interest," Wodnick said.
- Suspects arrested: Investigators later learned that they were going to the O'Hare International Airport and were catching a flight to Nigeria. The alleged offenders purchased roundtrip tickets with them returning to Chicago on Feb.13. As police waited for them to return, they issued more than 50 search warrants and subpoenas. Police took them into custody when they reentered the country at US customs.
- "Something smelled fishy": The men's attorney told police that "something smelled fishy" and that "she did not think that they were the offenders as were reported," Wodnick said. She allowed police to give them a video interview and said "she worked with us very, very closely to get to the point where she came to me and said, 'They are not offenders. They are victims,'" Wodnick said.
- No longer suspects: Police worked with the men to get a timeline and document their story. "We were able to substantiate those things," Wodnick said. The men were released and police went to the grand jury.
- The grand jury investigation: Police worked with the state attorney's office and went to the grand jury. The two men instead served as witnesses. Smollett's attorneys contacted police and said they had evidence to postpone the grand jury, Wodnick said. Detectives met with them but they gave no new information, Wodnick said.
- Charges filed: State attorney's office approved a felony charge against Smollett for disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
- Today at 6 a.m. ET: Smollett turned himself in.
Asked what he thought would be justice in this case, police superintendent Eddie Johnson said an apology to the city would be a start.
"Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of resources put into this," Johnson said.
Johnson pointed out, multiple times, the man-hours Chicago police poured into this case, and police were "pissed" when they learned Jussie Smollett's true motive.