Since January of 2019, many have been trying to figure out what exactly is going on with Jussie Smollett. Following initial reports that the actor had been attacked outside of a Chicago Subway while filming the Fox series Empire, fans have questioned everything from whether he was actually attacked to just how much trust we should put in the Chicago Police Department’s statements. The tale included former Empire extras, a racist and homophobic letter being sent to the Empire set, and Jussie declaring himself the “gay Tupac.”
On the morning of Feb. 21, 2019, the case took a major turn, with Smollett turning himself in to Chicago police after being considered the orchestrator of what they’re now calling a hoax. What follows is a roller coaster of charges being brought up and dropped only to have Smollett indicted once again, all part of what his attorney calls a “tremendous rush to judgment” that ended up with Smollett losing his Empire gig and damaging his reputation. Over the next three years, Smollett’s case was tried both in real court and in the court of public opinion, and after some false starts, a number of witnesses, and an unsuccessful bid for a new trial, Smollett was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. After being sentenced to jail time, Smollett was surprisingly released from the Cook County Department of Corrections detention center just days later.
With so many twists and turns over the last few years, here is the full timeline of Jussie Smollett’s case.