UPDATED 3/28/2018 8:32 p.m. ET: President Donald Trump went Jussie Smollett at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He called the dropped charges "an embarrassment to our country, what took place there" and said he agreed with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel about the outcome.
Two days after the Cook County State Attorney's office dropped the disorderly conduct charges against Jussie Smollett, the actor arrived in Los Angeles just in time for the NAACP Image Awards, where he is up for a Best Supporting Actor award. Upon landing at LAX on Thursday, Smollett was bombarded by reporters asking about whether he feels his career can survive the allegations that he deceived the masses. Although he remained mum while exiting the airport, the timeline of events that allowed for the Empire cast member to emerge generally unscathed legally has left questions about his innocence largely unanswered.
Smollett was ordered to complete 16 hours of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond payment, which Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the investigation, argued is a standard punishment for the Class 4 felonies for which Smollett was accused. "I believe this is a just outcome based on the circumstances," Foxx explained.
Although Smollett was not reimbursed for his bail, the financial lengths the city of Chicago went to far exceeded Smollett's $10,000 payment. According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago police fronted the cost of a six-night stay at the Chicago South Loop Hotel for Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, the two brothers who allege that Smollett paid them to carry out the violent attack in January. In addition to their two separate quarters, the Osundairo brothers were provided with a 24-7 security detail to ensure they avoided the onslaught of reporters covering the case, along with "food and incidentals."
Emanuel announced Thursday that the city intends on sending Smollett a bill for the police investigation into his alleged hoax. Bill McCaffrey, a spokesperson for the city government's legal department confirmed that Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the costs of the probe.
After it was announced that the charges against Smollett had been dismissed by the state attorney's office, legislators, politicians, and legal representatives across the country disputed the decision. Emanuel implied that corruption in certain governmental institutions may have played a role in the judicial outcome, calling the dismissal a "whitewash of justice."
However, on Thursday the president took to Twitter to announce that the FBI and the Department of Justice would be looking into the Smollett case, likely because the actor accused two unidentified MAGA supporters of carrying out the alleged attack. "FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago,” the president wrote. "It is an embarrassment to our Nation!"
During a radio appearance on Thursday, Emanuel, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, told him to "sit this one out," explaining that the president's rhetoric and Smollett's manipulation of the political landscape represent a cyclical, toxic environment. "Jussie Smollett thinks that hate-filled environment that the president created, pinning one American against another because of their background. He thought he could take advantage of and create a hoax (through) a hate crime,” Emanuel said. “It’s a vicious toxic environment and cycle. I want to break it."
It remains unclear to what extent the federal agencies will be involved, especially given the FBI was already reviewing the hateful letter Smollett received on the set of Empire. According to ABC7 in Chicago, the Bureau is currently investigating the "circumstances" that allowed for the actor's case to be dismissed.
The outlet also obtained information surrounding the CPD's response to document requests under the Freedom of Information Act prior to becoming aware of the judge's order to seal Smollett's file. Foxx claimed the documents weren't supposed to be sealed and believes they're in the process of being unsealed.