According to the timeline outlined by authorities, Smollett was upset by how Fox handled the threatening, racist and homophobic letter he received at Empire offices on Jan. 22. (Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said in a press conference on Thursday that police believe Smollett concocted the letter). On Jan. 25, authorities say Smollett texted Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo (a former person of interest in the case, who was pictured in the released surveillance footage); Abel knew Smollett after appearing as a stand-in on Empire. Smollett allegedly asked Abel when he was leaving on his upcoming trip to Nigeria, which was set for the evening of Jan. 29.
"After Abel confirmed the date and time of his trip, Defendant Smollett texted Abel stating, 'Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?'" the document claims. It was during the pair's meeting that Smollett allegedly told Abel that he wanted to stage an attack; he also asked that Abel's brother, Ola (who had also appeared as an extra on Empire), participate.
Authorities: Smollett Outlines the Plan
Smollett told the brothers of his plan in his car on Jan. 25. "Defendant Smollett stated that he wanted them to appear to attack him on the evening of Jan. 28, 2019, near his apartment building in Streeterville. Defendant Smollett also stated that he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an 'Empire F***** Empire N*****.' Defendant 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. Defendant Smollett also included that he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell 'This is MAGA country,'" the document alleges.
According to authorities, the Empire star then gave Abel a $100 bill to purchase supplies for the incident. Two days later, on Jan. 27, the document claims Smollett picked up the brothers from their apartment to show them the scene where he wanted the attack to take place, and pointed out a surveillance camera on the corner, which he believed would capture the incident. They changed their plan to use bleach instead of gasoline, and Smollett gave Abel a check for $3,500, which was backdated to Jan. 23.
On Jan. 28, the brothers purchased the supplies with the $100 bill, and Abel deposited the check from Smollett, the document alleges, claiming that the actor's flight into Chicago was delayed, so Smollett decided the attack would take place at 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 29, at the same location.
Authorities: The Incident Occurs
Authorities say that Abel and Ola took an Uber to the location and waited for Smollett, who arrived at 2:04 a.m. According to the bond proffer, a witness told police that she heard nothing, despite the fact that Smollett told detectives that his attackers were yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him. The document claims the incident lasted 45 seconds, just outside the view of the camera that Smollett had allegedly pointed out to the brothers.
Authorities: Smollett Files a Police Report
The brothers returned home, while Smollett's manager called the police to report the incident at 2:27 a.m., authorities say. At 2:42 a.m., officers arrived at Smollett's apartment, where Smollett asked them to shut off their body cameras. Smollett then made his police report, claiming that he was the victim of an attack in which racial and homophobic slurs were directed at him. He also told police that the first attacker (now known to police to be Abel), was wearing a ski mask which covered his face, but Smollett said he could see the skin around his eyes were white. The document notes that Smollett further claimed his attackers weren't black during his Good Morning America appearance on Feb. 14.
Authorities: Smollett Reaches Back Out to Abel
Smollett and Abel exchanged several short phone calls the night of Jan. 29, before Abel and Ola boarded their flight to Nigeria and left the country, according to authorities, who claim the brothers returned to Chicago on Feb. 13 and were detained by US Customs upon landing at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, following Chicago Police's weeks-long investigation into the alleged hate crime.
Authorities: Abel and Ola Are Arrested, Cooperate With Authorities
Once taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department, the brothers' residence was searched. Abel and Ola then agreed to cooperate in the investigation, authorities claim. "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 bond proffer notes.
Authorities: Smollett Is Charged With Felony Disorderly Conduct
Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report on Wednesday, and he was taken into custody the next morning. His bail was set at $100,000. He posted bond Thursday afternoon.
The actor has maintained that he is a victim and again denied all the allegations via his attorneys on Thursday.
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system," the statement reads. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election."
"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity, who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement added.