Smollett maintained his innocence at a meeting with Empire cast and crew.
The prosecutors in the case against Empire actor Jussie Smollett released their bond proffer, which provides evidence that he filed a false police report.
The prosecutors wrote that Smollett instructed brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo to attack him, place a noose around his head, pour bleach on him, and also yell, “This is MAGA country!”
Smollett appeared in court in Chicago at 1:30PM on Thursday where the prosecutors read from the bond proffer.
Smollett received a racist letter on January 22, which contained a powdery white substance. It went to law enforcement and currently in an FBI lab for analysis.
When the racist letters to Smollett did not generate the attention he craved, he decided to take the next step. On January 25, Smollett texted Abel that he “[M]ight need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?” When they met, Smollett told Abel how he was unhappy with the way the way the studios handled the racist letter and so he wanted the brothers to help him stage an attack.
Smollett showed the brothers where he wanted them to attack them, provided them money for the materials, and even rehearsed the attack with them. He also told them not to bring their cell phones.
The attack occurred on January 29:
The judge ordered $100,000 bail and Smollett had to surrender his passport. The judge reminded everyone that “Smollett is presumed innocent, but if true, the charges are ‘outrageous.'” The judge expressed disgust over the fact that a noose was used.
Smollett paid $10,000 bond and will have to remain under supervision until his next court date on March 14.
During a press conference early Thursday morning, Chicago Police Department Supt. Eddie Johnson stated that Smollett performed the attack due to dissatisfaction with his salary on Empire. He also said that Smollett wounded himself.
Smollett’s attorneys released this statement:
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. 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. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
Smollett apologized to those on Empire, but insisted that he is innocent. From CNN:
The person at the meeting said they were shocked and dismayed that Smollett stuck to his story of innocence. For the most part, the source said, Smollett paraphrased what was in the statement that his attorney put out that afternoon, blaming the legal system and the media for his woes.
20th Century Fox Television executive VP of corporate communications and publicity, Chris Alexander, confirmed that Smollett was on set filming on Thursday.
The Daily Mail received a statement from Empire’s creator that the show has cut Smollett from the last two episodes:
The creators of Empire have cut Jussie Smollett’s character from the final two episodes of its fifth season which are being currently filmed, meaning he will not return to set.
In a statement to DailyMail.com on Friday morning, the show’s creator Lee Daniels and executive producers Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer said the case had taken a toll on the entire cast and crew.
They did not reveal whether or not they believe Smollett’s innocence, but said the allegations against him are ‘disturbing’.
‘The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us.
‘Jussie has been an important member of our EMPIRE family for the past five years and we care about him deeply.
‘While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.
‘We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season,’ the statement said.
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