The Chicago Police Superintendent appeared on “Good Morning America” Monday to discuss the case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who police have accused of making a false police report regarding a purported hate crime on January 29 that may have been staged.
Smollett has been charged with disorderly conduct and taken into custody last week before being released on bail. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was highly critical of Smollett in a press conference on Thursday addressing the allegations against the 36-year-old actor, calling the alleged hoax a “publicity stunt” the “smeared” the city of Chicago.
Johnson spoke to GMA host Robin Roberts on Monday morning, insisting that authorities had plenty of evidence against Smollett following reports over the weekend raising questions about check the actor wrote to the two brothers believed to be involved in the attack. Authorities reportedly believe the check was payment for the brothers’ help in staging the purported hate crime, though Smollett reportedly wrote a memo on the check indicating it was for training in preparation for an upcoming music video. Text messages between Smollett and one of the brothers also indicated that they were working together on a nutrition and fitness program.
On GMA, Johnson said he still believes the check was for help staging a hate crime.
“They [the brothers] said that he paid them $3,500 with a check … to carry out this incident,” Johnson said on the morning talk show, according to the New York Post. Johnson also said the check is only part of the evidence police have that has led them to believe Smollett was not telling the truth when he claimed to have been targeted in a racist and homophobic hate crime in the early morning hours of January 29.
“Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, that does not support the version he gave,” Johnson said on the show.
“There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply doesn’t support his version of what happened.”
Did you catch the @GMA interview w/ our very own @Chicago_Police Supt. Eddie Johnson? Supt. Johnson has been a guest speaker at the City Club since his appointment in 2016. You can also see his latest talk at the City Club here: https://t.co/WtdJqvvLaV pic.twitter.com/YShR922QPS
— City Club of Chicago (@CityClubChicago) February 25, 2019
“It’s important for people to recognize that it’s not the Chicago Police Department saying he did something, it’s the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this,” Johnson reportedly said.
Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct last week and released on $100,000 bail. He is reportedly due back in court on March 14.