In March, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett, who was accused of orchestrating a fake homophobic attack and filing a false police report. But on August 23, a new special prosecutor was announced following accusations concerning the mishandling of the case by the original prosecutor.
Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and special prosecutor in the 1990 Iran-Contra scandal Dan Webb was chosen to determine whether or not new charges should be filed against Smollett. In June, Judge Michael Toomin declared that there were “unprecedented irregularities” in the way the original prosecutor handled the case, including State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recusing herself after admitting to texting with one of Smollett’s family members and appointing her top deputy in her stead.
Video footage of the night Smollett, known for his starring role on television’s Empire, reported the attack shows Smollett answering the door for police officer with a rope around his neck and telling police officers that his attackers “poured bleach” on him. Authorities allege that Smollett paid acquaintances Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to attack him, and police claim the footage also shows the two of them taking a cab to the site of the attack.
Smollett pled not guilty to the original charges before they were dropped.