Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Good Morning America that there is a slew of other evidence proving former Empire actor Jussie Smollett faked his hate crime.
Johnson drew major headlines last week when he denounced Smollett in a press conference and accused him making up a hate crime against himself.
As Johnson explained the details of the case and the investigative process that was applied to Smollet’s supposed assault, he doubled down on his assessment and said there’s more evidence out there to suggest the actor’s story was fabricated.
Watch the whole thing:
Robins: The Superintendent of the Chicago police department, Eddie Johnson is with us. Thank you for joining us. Initially, all accounts from police, you were treating Jussie Smollett as the victim. When did it turn from being a possible hate crime to a possible hoax?
Johnson: So, let me just put this out there, first and foremost. That right now, he’s still — he still has the presumption of innocence until he has his day in court. What happened, at the very beginning when he gave his version of events, we treated it like a hate crime.
One of the things I think is important to recognize is although the two attackers, who were masked, he was able to say he could see around their eyes that they were white-skipped. At least one guy was a white-skinned person. That’s how we approached it. The entire time we investigated, he was treated like a victim. As you know, we pick up the two individuals after we identified who they were, we were waiting for them at O’Hare airport. We were legally allowed to hold them for 48 hours. After 47 hours things changed. What changed? First we had gathered up evidence and facts. What changed was they then became cooperating witnesses.
Robins: Was there a reason they decided to to that in the 47th hour?
Johnson: We worked closely with their lawyer. Their lawyer talked to them. Whatever she said to them got through to them to just tell the truth about what happened. That’s what they decided to do. Even though you all were saying early on there was no reason not the believe his story, there were a lot of red flags that a lot of people saw. We had questions. Even though we were not, of course, going to be public about that.
There were questions. There’s always question when people are describing incidents to us. We have to maintain the integrity of the investigation. We didn’t have the facts to support him being involved until that 47th hour. It’s important for people to recognize it’s not the Chicago police saying he did something. It’s the evidence. The facts. And the witnesses that are saying this.
Robins: The brothers have stated that.
Robins: The check that we saw in Eva Pilgrim’s report. The $3500. Did the brothers say that was for the attack? Did they said he paid them $3500 for the attack.Did they say what it was for?
Johnson: To carry out this incident.
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