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Chicago police release hundreds of documents in Jussie Smollett case

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department has released hundreds of documents relating to the Jussie Smollett case.

Police said the files include 460-plus pages of case reports, arrest files and supplementary files:

The reports provide a more detailed picture of the extensive investigation into Smollett’s claim that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Streeterville in January.

Chicago police said Smollett paid two brothers to stage the attack in pursuit of publicity and a higher salary. Smollett has denied the allegations against him.

A team of detectives worked to piece together surveillance video, physical evidence, ridesharing records and interviews. The police reports noted some inconsistencies.

“Victim had originally stated he was able to see the area between the eyes and the offender was white. Victim now stated that he ‘assumed they were white due to the comments that were made.’”

According to the reports, when police showed Smollett pictures of the two men in custody he told detectives, “It can’t be them. ‘They are black as sin.’ We don’t have any issues…They did not owe me any money. I don’t owe them any money. We have a good relationship.”

The reports also include previous text exchanges with Smollett asking one of the brothers to buy drugs.

The men eventually cooperated with the investigation. They told police they left the clothing they wore during the incident in Nigeria. When shown a picture of a cleaned out hot sauce bottle left at the scene, one of the men confirmed it was it was the bottle he filled with bleach and poured on Smollett.

Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct. Those charges were abruptly dropped in March, surprising the city’s top cop.

The reports revealed after Smollett was indicted in February, an assistant state's attorney told detectives she felt the case would be settled with Smollett paying $10,000 in restitution and doing community service.

A CPD spokesperson said police believed there would be some acknowledgment of guilt from Smollett, but that was not the case.

Last week, a judge ordered the criminal case file unsealed after several news organizations, including WGN News, requested the records be made public. The judge was not swayed by Smollett’s argument for privacy because Smollett talked voluntarily talked to the media about the case.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office will release documents related to the case by Monday.

In the next few weeks, police will release more records including notes from detectives and surveillance video.

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