Charges may have been dismissed against former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, but it appears officials determined that they were going to do so long before they announced it to the public.
According to a report by CNN, documents that were released on Thursday reveal Assistant State Attorney Risa Lanier told detectives in February that the case could be settled by Smollett paying “Chicago $10K in restitution and doing community service.”
While this may seem like nothing new, the documents reveal that Lanier had this discussion with detectives just a week after Smollett had turned himself in to authorities.
In the same conversation, according to CNN, Ranier told detectives “they could no longer investigate the hate crime turned false report case.”
The detectives did not notify their superiors about the discussion, according to The Associated Press.
“They didn’t pass it on because they didn’t know [the case] was going to be handled the way it was,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, according to the AP.
The AP noted that the detectives closed the case on March 7, after Smollet was indicted.
It wasn’t until March 26 that prosecutors announced they would be dismissing the charges against the actor after he had done some community service and forfeited his bail money.
Smollett’s case gained nationwide attention after he told police that he had been attacked by two white men who wore “Make America Great Again” hats and yelled racial and anti-gay slurs at him during an altercation.
The “Empire” actor also told police that the two men tied a rope around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him.
It wasn’t until after a thorough investigation that it became likely that the attack was staged.
According to Chicago police, Smollett had paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in an effort “to promote his career.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney office said at the time that Smollett’s community service and the forfeiture of his bond was a “just” outcome.
In a statement dated March 26, the office said:
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
After Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dismissed the charges, critics quickly slammed her, saying she’d taken it easy on the star because of his celebrity status.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Raham Emmanuel were publicly furious.
The story even prompted a response from President Donald Trump.
As it was becoming evident that the attack was staged, Trumpt slammed the actor in a post on Twitter writing, “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2019
CNN reported that it reached out to Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos on Thursday, but he declined to comment.
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