Chicago PD just held a press conference about Jussie Smollett … and they are PISSED.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson kicked off the presser by making it clear, “Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.” He says the “Empire” star was “dissatisfied” with his salary on the FOX show, so he concocted a publicity stunt to gain attention.
Johnson said cops treated Smollett as a victim until they were led in a different direction, and admits that it upset everyone working on the case. He is also worried about the “level of skepticism” that may be shown to hate crimes in the future, including those agains the LGBTQ community.
The superintendent did not hold back his anger, and said Smollett is “shameful” for such a “despicable” act.
Commander Ed Wodnicki also addressed the media and gave a rundown of the timeline leading up to Smollett’s arrest. Wodnicki credits the fine detective work, along with help from the city of Chicago on investigating the crime.
He said over 50 search warrants and subpoenas were issued and applauded the Osundairo brothers for working with officials and becoming cooperating witnesses.
Police say while substantiating the Nigerian brothers’ story, they confirmed Smollett had made communicated with them an hour before the attack, an hour after the attack and also after they left the country.
Wodnicki addressed the phone call that was placed by Smollett’s attorneys to put a pause on the grand jury, and said the actor’s attorneys claimed they had evidence, but did not present anything new when the time came.
Smollett, who is currently in custody, has not made any statements yet to police. His legal team is vowing to mount an “aggressive defense,” including their own investigation.
The actor is due in court later Thursday afternoon for a bond hearing.
This story has been updated to include information from the press conference.