One week after an Illinois judge ordered “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s criminal case file to be unsealed, the Chicago Police Department has released the documents.
The file includes more than 460 pages of case reports, arrest files and supplementary files, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday.
Guglielmi said 300-plus pages of supplementary materials — including handwritten detective notes, subpoena records and ancillary material — will also be delivered, hopefully by this time next week.
“The final release will be pertinent video files that require a heavy amount of digital redaction for things like license plates of unrelated vehicles and the blurring of faces of individuals not involved in the criminal investigation,” Guglielmi said. “We hope to have that completed by the week after next.”
Earlier this month, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins, who presided over a March hearing where prosecutors dismissed the charges with little explanation, ordered records in the controversial case be made public.
Smollett made national headlines in January when he filed a police report alleging that two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him. Smollett, who is black and openly gay, claimed the men made racist and homophobic comments and yelled “This is MAGA country,” a pointed reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
After an intense investigation, police said Smollett staged the entire episode to drum up publicity for his career. Smollett has strongly denied the accusations.
After the charges were dropped, the court approved a request by his lawyer to seal the case. Several news organizations, including The Associated Press and The New York Times, asked the judge to reverse the decision, arguing there was a need for more transparency as to why prosecutors suddenly decided to abandon charges. Smollett’s lawyers had argued that since the case was dropped, Smollett had “the right to be left alone.”
But Judge Watkins disagreed.
Smollett “voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail,” the judge wrote. “After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case. On several occasions, attorneys for defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case.”
Watkins added, “These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone.”