Jussie Smollett is a free man – for now – and no matter what you believe about his guilt or innocence, one thing is clear: the coming court case promises to be a media circus. As Smollett made his first court appearance on a felony charge of disorderly conduct for filing a false report in Chicago yesterday, he was welcomed by a crush of reporters.
He reportedly remained stone-faced as prosecutors laid out why they think Smollett is guilty. Among the evidence given, which saw the grand jury approve the indictment:
- A text message from Smollett to Abel Osundairo on January 25th, which read: "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face-to-face?"
- Smollett allegedly asked Abel if his brother, Ola, could be trusted – and wanted his participation. During a subsequent meeting, they say Smollett talked about his "displeasure" over the studio’s handling of the letter and wanted to "stage an attack.”
- Smollett allegedly gave the brothers $100 to pay for the items that would be used in the attack. The morning of the “attack,” it was that money that was used to purchase the ski masks and MAGA hat.
- Smollett and the brothers reportedly met again on January 27th to scout a location where cameras would capture the attack. The following day, the Osundairo brother deposited a $3,500 check from Smollett that was backdated to January 23rd.
- The “attack” was initially planned to take place on January 28th, but was postponed because Smollett's flight from New York to Chicago was delayed.
- There is evidence of phone calls between Smollett and the brothers before the incident, right after the incident…and during their trip to Nigeria.
- The scratches on Smollett’s face? As the brothers were wearing gloves, police say those were self-inflicted
Smollett has been released on $100,000 bond and is back at work. If convicted, the actor faces up to three years in prison. As for why this happened in the first letter? Publicity and Salary. According to police, Smollett, who reportedly makes $65-thousand per episode on “Empire,” wanted more money and more fame.
- Of course, Smollett’s attorneys are less than pleased with the state of things. His lawyers have issued a statement saying the “presumption of innocence that is the bedrock of the U.S. system of justice was trampled upon.” They also call Smollett “a man of impeccable character and integrity” who maintains his innocence and “feels betrayed by a system that seems intent on skipping due process.” The remark about Smollett’s integrity is a key note, as back in 2007, Smollett lied to police when he was busted for DUI.
- ONE MORE THING!According to body language expert, Janine Driver (who is also author of the book, "You Can’t Lie to Me") there were a number of signs about Smollett's level of truthfulness in his interview with "Good Morning America." She details it HERE.