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Chicago police release hundreds of videos, documents on Jussie Smollett investigation

Megan Crepeau, Jeremy Gorner and William Lee, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

CHICAGO -- On the night Jussie Smollett reported being the victim of a vicious hate crime, he stepped forward to greet police officers wearing a powerful symbol of the attack he said he suffered: a thin white rope looped around his neck, braided into a tangled noose and reaching below his chest.

"The reason I'm calling (police) is because of this s---," one of Smollett's managers told the officers, reaching toward Smollett to grab the noose with disdain.

"Do you want to take it off or anything?" an officer asked Smollett, then an actor on the Fox show, "Empire."

"Yeah, I do. I just wanted y'all to see it," said Smollett, struggling for a moment to remove the loops of rope around his neck.

Chicago police released the curious exchange along with hundreds of other videos late Monday afternoon as well as hundreds of pages of texts, emails and internal documents in the latest document dump in a case that stoked an international media firestorm.

Smollett, who is African American and openly gay, reported that two men attacked him on a frigid January night in downtown Chicago, slipping a noose around his neck and shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

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Following an intense investigation by Chicago police, Smollett eventually turned from victim to suspect.

He ended up indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly paying $3,500 to two brothers he knew to stage the attack near his apartment building in the Streeterville neighborhood. But just a few weeks later, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office dropped all charges with little explanation at an unannounced court hearing.

Monday's massive release of materials -- the second such document drop by Chicago police and third overall since mid-April -- comes days after the latest twist in the case that has grown only more bizarre seemingly with each passing week.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin ordered Friday that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the abrupt dismissal of charges against Smollett, a move that could see the actor hit with more charges and subject Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office to an investigation.

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