James Ponsoldt’s Jussie Smollett,
an Orchard Park filmmaker, has been charged with allegedly lying to the police about being the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by two men.
Smollett’s lawyers say his account of the attack has been distorted. For them, the biggest problem is this: In the weeks since news of the attack first broke, and before the police searched Smollett’s apartment and questioned his friends, no one from the pro-Smollett camp has appeared on a daily talk show. (On Thursday, for example, Rachel Maddow was appearing to promote her own movie.) As you’ll see below, this has annoyed the good-faith members of the conspiracy-theory world on social media, and the talk-show hosts who love to be gossipy.
James Frater/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cynthia Killimayer/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
December 4, 2018
WGN-TV in Chicago reports that Smollett and his mother “were the first visitors” to the hospital where he was receiving treatment following the alleged attack.
April 19, 2019
Smollett appears on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about the attack. He says he had been attacked by two unidentified men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. He says he had been wearing a red Make America Great Again hat. Smollett also says he was beaten with a switchblade. He says he was ultimately left with bruises to his face, hands, neck, ribs, back, torso, jaw, belly, chin, and right thigh.
Police have since said Smollett told them that the attackers called him “MAGA country” and that he wasn’t hit with a switchblade.
April 25, 2019
Chicago police say they have probable cause to charge Smollett with disorderly conduct. The filing says Smollett gave false information to a police officer in his initial police report. The offense is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
May 8, 2019
Smollett’s lawyers release a statement confirming that their client has been charged with disorderly conduct. They don’t yet have a statement on the charges, which are scheduled to be revealed Thursday evening.
May 9, 2019
Smollett’s attorneys release a second statement. “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” it reads. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”