Thursday, May 30, 2019

CPD file: Prosecutor predicted Smollett case resolution weeks before it happened in an "emergency" court session; More...

A CPD detective report says Smollett's prosecutor predicted the case outcome weeks before it happened. | CPD
The Chicago Police Department on Thursday released the "electronic record" of its investigation into actor Jussie Smollett's hate crime allegation that determined the TV star faked a late January attack by racist, homophobic, Donald Trump-supporting men with the help of two black bodybuilders from Lakeview who worked as extras on Fox's Empire program.

Perhaps the most significant revelation in the hundreds of pages of lightly-redacted documents is a detective's report in which a Cook County prosecutor is said to have told officers to stop investigating the case and then predicted how the case would be resolved—weeks before it happened.

"Once Smollet was indicted by the Grand Jury on February 28, 2019, CPD was informed by the [Cook County State's Attorney's Office] that they could no longer investigate" the fake hate crime case, a detective wrote in a report that closed out the case on Mar. 28th.

The detective the prosecutor who handled the Smollet case, Risa Lanier, told him on the day that a grand jury indicted Smollett that her office would need all evidence by Mar. 11th.

Yet, in the same meeting, "Lanier informed detectives that she felt the case would be settled with Smollett paying the city of Chicago $10,000 in restitution and doing community service."

As it turned out, no one from the State's Attorney's Office ever asked for the case evidence. And, weeks later, on Mar. 26th, Lanier and Smollett's attorneys requested an emergency court hearing in which sixteen felony counts of false report were dropped against the actor without any of the usual diversionary programs or alternative prosecution plans being put into place.

Instead, precisely as Lanier had predicted weeks earlier, Smollett forfeited his $10,000 bail bond to the city. And, prosecutors claimed, the actor performed "community service" in two preceding days by helping at the Rainbow PUSH gift shop. (Rainbow PUSH would later dispute that Smollett's work was "community service.")

Among other items of varying significance found in Thursday's document dump:

Police said Smollett had a pattern of paying two men accused of staging the hate crime with funds that were "memoed" for other purposes. In addition to paying for the attack with a $3,500 check that Smollett noted was for physical training, the actor also paid one of the Osundairo brothers via Venmo for drugs — but the funds were cloaked as being for something else.
Police notes and text messages that allege a drug connection between Smollett and an Osundairo brother. | CPD
After being taken into custody upon returning from a trip to Africa in mid-February, the Osundairo brothers detailed the bogus hate crime attack in a police interview. Smollett wanted to stage the attack, the brothers said, because "he was unhappy with the response he received over hate mail" that was delivered to him on the Empire TV show set one week before.

The brothers, who are avid weightlifters, said they "pulled punches" so Smollett would not be injured. One of the brothers "began rubbing his knuckle into Smollett's face" in an attempt to bruise the actor without actually hurting him. The duo hurried through the attack, they said, because two cars had been in the area and they were afraid they would be discovered.

As the "attack" ended, one of the brothers threw a fake noose onto Smollett's face, they said. Smollett was later seen on surveillance video and by responding officers with the noose tied around his neck.
The Osundairo brothers tell police about how the attack unfolded. | CPD
After the attack, the Osundairo brothers ran to the nearby Chicago Riverwalk, where they passed a Sheraton Grand Hotel security guard who was making his rounds. The guard reported that one of the masked men who ran past him said he was running because it was cold while the second man was laughing as he zoomed by. The guard turned the corner and saw a third man—presumably Smollett—bent over as if he was picking something up off the ground.

Police interview notes from the day of the alleged attack say Smollett refused to turn over his phone; refused to release his medical records; and said he would "think about" providing a DNA sample to compare with DNA taken from the rope.

On Feb. 14th, the same day that Smollett first spoke publicly about the attack on Good Morning America, police re-interviewed the actor about the attack. Inconsistencies began to emerge, police said, including Smollett's recollections about whether or not he initially identified one of his attackers as being white.
Detectives' notes from a Feb. 14th re-interview of Smollett. | CPD
Finally, for the gossip lovers, there is this: Police records released today show that the infamous tuna sandwich that Smollett ordered at Subway before being "attacked" was not for him. It was for his friend and choreographer, Frank Gaston Jr. Smollett told police that he ordered a salad for himself. The vast CPD files released today do not indicate if the salad survived the attack as smoothly as Gaston's sandwich did.

Another batch of supporting records, including detectives' handwritten notes, are expected to be released next week. Also forthcoming will be about 70 hours of surveillance videos that detectives collected during their investigation.



To see all Jussie Smollett coverage from CWBChicago, click here.