Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson discusses the case his department has against actor Jussie Smollett, who has claimed he was attacked by two people.
Following is the part of the bond proffer that details the staged attack proposed by Jussie Smollett to brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo.
Defendant: Jussie Smollett (DOB 6/21/82)- 36 years old
Charge: Disorderly Conduct-False Report (Class 4 Felony)
A text message from Smollett to Abel Osundairo stated “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?”
The brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo reported that while talking “face to face” in Smollett’s car about 5:00 p.m. on January 25, 2019 near Smollet’s apartment in Streeterville. Smollett stated he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by using racial slurs. Smollett further detailed that he wanted Abel to attack him, but not hurt him too badly and give him a chance to appear to fight back. Smollett also included that he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell “this is MAGA country“ prior to the brothers getting out of Smollett’s car, Smollett provided Abel with a $100 bill to purchase the rope, gasoline, ski mask, gloves and red baseball cap which resembles the ones that say Make America Great Again. The ride from Cinescape studios to the Osundairo’s brothers home and the meeting between Smollett and the brothers is corroborated by CPD POD videos and cellular phone tower data of Smollett’s phone number.
On the late morning of Sunday, January 27, 2019, Smollett drove his vehicle back to the Lakeview neighborhood to pick up the brothers and show them the scene where he wanted the staged attack to take place. Smollett then drove the brothers to the corner of New Street and N. Water St. in Chicago where the staged attack was to take place. This was just outside Smollett’s apartment building. Further details were provided by Smollett which included that the staged attack was to take place near the stairs on the southwest corner of New and N. Water St. at 10 PM the following night. Smollett also instructed the brothers not to bring their cell phones with them. Smollett directed the brothers’ attention toward a surveillance camera on the corner, which he believed would capture the incident. There was a change in the plan … that bleach was going to be used rather than gasoline during the simulated attack. Smollett then drove the brothers home and provided them with a $3500 personal check made payable to Abel, which was backdated to January 23, 2019.
On the morning of January 28, 2019, the date of the plan incident, the brothers purchased the clothing items at a local beauty supply store, and the rope at a nearby hardware store, using the $100 bill that Smollett had given them. These purchases were corroborated by surveillance video and a receipt. Abel also deposited Smollett’s check that same day in his own bank account. Later that evening, the plan had changed and the time of the attack had to be pushed back because Smollett’s flight into O’Hare from New York had been delayed by four hours. Smollet’s plane eventually landed at O’Hare at 12:30 AM on January 29, 2019. At 12:49 AM, there was a phone call between Smollett and Abel which lasted three minutes. During this phone call, Smollett told Abel the attack would take place at exactly 2 AM at the preset location. Minutes later Ola ordered an Uber ride share to his home to leave for the crime scene. Cell phone records and Uber records confirm this call and the Uber ride.
The brothers then took the Uber to the 1400 block of North Wells where they exited the Uber and flagged down a taxi which took them to within three blocks of the crime scene at approximately 1:22 AM. The taxis in-car video captures the brothers flagging the cab and riding in the backseat.
From approximately 1:22 AM until approximately 2:03 AM, video evidence showed the brothers on foot in an area bordered by Lake Shore Drive on the east, Columbus Drive on the west, Illinois St. to the north, and the Chicago River to the south. Video evidence also showed that Smollett returned back to his apartment from the airport at approximately 1:30 AM. At 1:45 AM, Smollett left his building to walk to a nearby Subway restaurant at Illinois Street and McClurg Court. At 2 AM, the brothers were at the intersection of New Street and N. Water St.; however, defendant Smollett did not arrive exactly at the preset time. The brothers then proceeded a quarter block north and waited near a bench until Smollett arrived, which was four minutes later. Surveillance cameras captured the brothers waiting at his location just prior to the staged attack. During Smollet’s interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, which aired on February 14, 2019, he identified the people shown in a still of this surveillance video as his attackers. Also, during this interview, Smollett indicated that he was positive that these were his attackers. The two men in this video are in fact the Osundairo brothers.
It was at this time, that the brothers stage the attack of Smollett just how Smollett had instructed them. While the staged attack was occurring, a witness, who is an employee of NBC News Chicago, had just parked and exited her vehicle just around the corner from the location of the staged attack. This witness indicated that she heard nothing at the time the attack was occurring, despite the fact that Smollett told CPD detectives that the attackers were yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him, and he in turn was yelling back at them. The staged attack lasted 45 seconds, and it was just outside the view of the desired nearby camera that Smollett had pointed out to the brothers approximately 15 hours earlier.
Approximately one minute later, video evidence showed the brothers run from the location southbound toward the Chicago River and westbound towards Columbus Drive. Video evidence also captured the brothers entering a taxi at the Hyatt Regency Hotel across the river at 2:10 AM.
Approximately one minute later video evidence showed the brothers run from the location southbound toward the Chicago River and westbound toward Columbus Drive. Video evidence also captured the brothers entering a taxi at the Hyatt Regency Hotel across the river at 2:10 AM.
Video evidence then showed that at 2:25 AM the brothers exit the taxi on the 3600 block of North Marshfield Ave. and walk northbound. This was only a few blocks from the brothers’ Lakeview apartment, which was also the original Uber pick up location to the staged crime scene. Video shows the brothers walking from where they were dropped off toward their home. Two minutes after the brothers exited the taxi, at 2:27 AM, Smollett’s manager called the police to report the incident. At approximately 2:42 AM Chicago police arrived at Smollet’s apartment. Chicago police observed that Smollett had a rope draped around his neck. This was captured on police body worn camera. Seconds later, Smollett asks the police to shut off the cameras. Smollett then made a police report where he claimed that he was the victim of an attack in which the offender struck him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett also reported that the offenders place a rope around his neck, poured a liquid chemical on him, and told him this is a MAGA country. Defendant Smollett also reported for the first time, that three days prior, on January 26, 2019, he received a phone call from an unidentified phone number in which an unidentified male caller stated, ‘hey you little F’ before ending the call. Smollett told Police that the incident happened near a camera which she stated could have captured the attack. This is the same camera that Smollett pointed out to the Osundairo brothers in preparation of the staged attack. Smollett also told police that the initial and primary attacker, now known to be Abel, was wearing a ski mask which covered his entire face, with the exception of his eyes and the area around his eyes. Smollett stated to the police that he could see that the area around the person’s eyes was white skin. As stated earlier in this proffer, the brothers are dark skin male blacks. During the Good Morning America interview referenced earlier, Smollett stated “and it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would’ve supported me much more. A lot more… “ the statements by Smollett further misled the police and the public to believe that his attackers were white.
On January 29, 2019 at 7:45 PM, just less than 18 hours following the reported attack, Smollett placed a phone call to Abel and the duration of the call was five seconds. Two minutes later, Abel called back Smollett and the call lasted one minute and 34 seconds. The brothers then boarded their flight to Nigeria and left the country. On January 30, 2019 at 10:46 AM, Smollett called Abel, who was in Istanbul, Turkey, and the duration of the call lasted eight minutes and 48 seconds.
For the next two weeks, the Chicago Police Department investigated this manner as a Hate Crime. Chicago police were able identify the Osundairo brothers as the alleged attackers through an extensive investigation using Surveillance Videos, Police Pod Videos, in-car taxi camera videos, rideshare records, credit card records, bank records, and a store receipt. On February 13, 2019, the brothers returned from Nigeria, landing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and they were detained by US customs. Members of the Chicago Police Department then placed them into custody. That same evening, the Chicago police executed a Search Warrant upon the Osundairo brothers’ residence where they recovered evidence which linked Abel to the Empire TV show. Chicago police already had a tournament that Ola was affiliated with the show as well.
Following their arrest and through consultation with their attorneys, the brothers agreed to cooperate in the investigation. As more evidence, such as text messages, phone records, social media records, bank records, surveillance video and the receipt from the purchase of the rope was obtained by investigators, the investigation shifted from a Hate Crime to a Disorderly Conduct investigation. The Cook County states Attorney’s Office approved charges of Disorderly Conduct against Smollett at 6:10 PM on February 20, 2019. At 5 AM this morning (February 21, 2019) defendant Smollett was placed into custody at Area Central Chicago Police Headquarters.
^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^
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Locations nearby crime scene: NBC Tower, Apple Michigan Avenue, Swissotel Chicago, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Millennium Park and the Bean, AMC River East 21, Pinstripes, Target store, The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and the Chicago River.