The Chicago Police Department has released all documents related to the Jussie Smollet attack.
What We Know:
- The CPD released the documents after an Illinois judge ordered Jussie Smollett’s criminal case file to be unsealed.
- Previously, we reported the Smollett attack that took place in January. Smollet filed a police report stating two men wearing masks attacked him, tied a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him all while making racial and homophobic comments. Smollett said the men yelled, “This is MAGA country”. After the attack, the CPD accused Smollett of staging the attack and that became a court battle within itself. Smollet strongly denied the accusations and ultimately the charges against him were dropped.
- Initially, the case was approved to be sealed after the charges were dropped. Smollett’s lawyer stated that since the case was over he had “the right to be left alone,” but Judge Steven Watkins disagreed.
- Judge Watkins felt Smollett wasn’t acting like someone who didn’t want to be bothered. According to foxnews.com, Watkins wrote, “[He] voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail.” He also wrote, ” He voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case.” Finally the judge expressed, “These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be left alone.”
- The judge’s decision was not solely based on Smollett’s actions. There were various media outlets, such as the Associated Press and the New York Times, who felt the case needed to be unsealed due to lack of transparency. “This is about transparency and trust in the system and we believe the public has a right to know what the government did and why,” said Natalie Spears, an attorney who represents some of the media outlets.
The released file is more than 460 pages and will contain video content as well. Smollett hasn’t commented on Judge Watkins’ decision.