Chicago authorities say they have additional evidence against Jussie Smollett that they have not shared with the public.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson went on Good Morning America on Monday to address recent reports about the high-profile case. Johnson told anchor Robin Roberts his department was sitting on "a lot more evidence" that suggest the Empire star staged his alleged hate crime nearly one month ago; however, Johnson made sure to point out Smollett still has the "presumption of innocence."
"It's important for people to recognize that it's not the Chicago Police Department saying he did something," the officer said. "It's the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this."
Johnson stated that investigators have reviewed physical evidence, video evidence, and testimony that conflict with Smollett's account. Johnson also addressed the $3,500 check Smollett paid to alleged co-conspirators Abel and Ola Osundairo. It was recently reported that the payment was for personal fitness training and a nutritional plan, rather than the brothers' involvement in the suspected hate crime hoax. Johnson said the Osundairos have admitted to accepting the money to help orchestrate the assault.
"They said that he paid them $3,500 with a check," he said on GMA.
"But did they say what it was for?" Roberts asked.
"To carry out this incident," Johnson replied.
Smollett was arrested last week on a felony charge of filing a false police report. On Jan. 29, the actor told officers he had been attacked by two masked men at around 2 a.m. that day in Chicago. Smollett claimed the culprits physically assaulted him and screamed racist, homophobic slurs during the incident. Johnson later announced the actor was suspected of staging the crime because he was "dissatisfied with his salary."
Smollett was released on $100,000 bond Thursday, and has maintained his innocence.
"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," his legal team wrote Thursday. "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."