Updated With Statement From Jussie Smollett’s Legal Team.
Jussie Smollett was released on $100,000 bond Thursday afternoon in Chicago, about two hours after he appeared before a Cook County judge.
During the Empire actor’s bond hearing, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered him to surrender his passport and called the allegations against Smollett “utterly outrageous,” according to The Associated Press.
Immediately after the hearing, Cook County prosecutors held a news conference and detailed the evidence police have gathered in the case.
Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier said investigators retrieved Uber records, text messages from the alleged perpetrators’ phones, cell phone tower data from Smollett’s phone and a $3,500 personal check the actor allegedly wrote to pay brothers Obabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to stage the attack. Lanier also said one of the men supplied Smollett with “designer drugs,” which she later identified as MDMA or ecstasy.
Smollett’s attorneys and family members left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
The actor turned himself in to police at 5 a.m. local time this morning, hours after he was formally charged for allegedly filing a false police report.
The charge stems from a report Smollett filed on Jan. 29, saying he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs and referenced “MAGA.” The actor — who is African-American and openly gay — also claimed his attackers placed a noose around his neck.
After police questioned and released the Osundairo brothers, investigators said they wanted to interview Smollett again and declared him a suspect.
At a news conference earlier in the day, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson — who like Smollett is black — said the actor staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire. The Huffington Post published a story Thursday saying the actor was paid $65,000 per episode for the most recent season of the Fox series — adding up to over $1 million for the season.
Johnson also alleged that Smollett sent a racist and homophobic letter to Fox studios in Chicago threatening himself, and blasted the actor for trying to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
“First Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,” Johnson said. “When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack… The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary so he concocted a story about being attacked.”
On Thursday night, a member of Smollett’s legal team released a statement saying the actor’s rights are being “trampled upon.”
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” said attorney Mark Geragos, who is advising Smollett’s Chicago-based lawyers. “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.”
The statement continued: “Mr. Smollet 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,”