Chicago Police released new footage Tuesday that allegedly shows Jussie Smollett wearing a rope around his neck shortly before he claims he was attacked by bigoted Trump supporters, News 12 reported.
The 20-second-long surveillance video appears to show the actor throwing something in the garbage before entering an elevator and leaving his Chicago apartment building. A white object that looks like rope can be seen hanging around Smollett’s neck. Police said Smollett was on his way to stage the Jan. 29 attack against himself.
But according to Smollett’s attorney, the footage is actually from after the attack. There is no rope around the former “Empire” star’s neck and his is not throwing something away, but rather examining his injuries in a mirror, the lawyer said.
Late last month, authorities released hundreds of video clips, comprising nearly 70 hours of footage, related to the Smollett case. Another notable clip shows officers respond to Smollett’s report of the attack. When they enter his apartment, he is still wearing the noose.
The final nail in the “hate crime” narrative told by Jussie Smollett?
In the court of public opinion, the videos have bolstered the police’s allegations that Smollett arranged for himself to be attacked as a publicity stunt.
But Smollett has stuck to his story. He has claimed two masked men jumped him outside his apartment, calling him racist and homophobic slurs and shouting, “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” According to his account, they poured what he believed was bleach on him and put the noose around his neck.
Police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, and many other celebrities, activists, politicians, and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of President Donald Trump’s America.
Then, in February, Smollett was arrested and charged for staging the attack in an alleged scheme to increase his profile and paycheck. Fox cut ties with the actor shortly thereafter, removing him from the final two episodes of the season.
In March, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dismissed all 16 charges against Smollett. Police and other Chicago officials expressed outrage, and the city sued the actor for the cost of his investigation.
Last month, Cook County Michael Toomin said a special prosecutor should be appointed in Smollett’s case. According to Toomin, the yet-to-be-named person could bring new charges against the beleaguered celebrity on “reasonable grounds.”