“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett searched his name 57 times in the days following the alleged hate crime hoax, according to documents released by authorities this week.
WBBM reported that the Google searches were conducted on Smollett’s personal computer, which Chicago police inspected shortly after the January 29 incident. The openly gay, black actor reportedly claimed he was attacked in Chicago by two unknown assailants who shouted homophobic and racist slurs, placed a noose around his neck, and dumped bleach on him.
The case took a sobering turn when two brothers who knew Smollett, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, were arrested in connection with the attack on February 13. However, police quickly zeroed in on Smollett after the men allegedly claimed he paid them to stage an alleged hate crime attack.
The release of the previously undisclosed documents and video comes days after a Cook County judge appointed a special prosecutor to review the initial investigation, which was met with criticism after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly dropped disorderly conduct charges against Smollett, 37, in late March.
According to WMAQ, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin said the special prosecutor will “conduct an independent investigation of the actions of any person or office involved in all aspects of the case.”
He added, “If reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Smollett in the interest of justice, the special prosecutor may take such action.”
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[Featured image: Jussie Smollett/zz/Demis Maryannakis/STAR MAX/IPx via AP]