The rollercoaster saga surrounding Jussie Smollett continues.
On the morning of February 21, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson led a press conference on behalf of the city’s police department shortly after the 36-year-old actor-singer was taken into custody. Along with Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki’s rundown explaining the alleged timeline of events, Johnson raised brows when he claimed the department was in possession of a $3,500 check Smollett wrote to the Osundairo brothers in order to assist him in a elaborate hoax.
I immediately wondered how someone who allegedly carried out a hoax could be so foolish to pay accomplices with the most easily trackable financial tender known to man. As if cash doesn’t exist.
Turns out, the reported check didn’t explicitly state anything about a staged attack at all.
TMZ initially posted the image of the check, which shows the check written out to Abimbola Osundario with a memo that reads, “5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don’t Go).” The check was dated January 23, six days before the alleged attack occurred.
ABC News has now confirmed it has obtained a copy of said check as well as text messages between the two, relating to exercising and meal plans, which corroborates TMZ’s report.
Still, Superintendent Johnson appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning to speak with Robin Roberts, doubling-down on his press conference briefing claims that Smollett fabricated the entire attack.
“Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he gave,” Johnson told Roberts. “There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened.”
“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,” he added.
Smollett turned himself into police and has posted bond, set at $100,000 at the bond hearing. He has pleaded not guilty.