How the Smollett hate crime case unraveled

The ongoing collapse of the claimed hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett has been an example of bottom-up, not top-down news gathering. Chicago’s Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and the CPD’s official communications have at every opportunity defended the original narrative. But the rank-and-file cops, quite probably outraged at what was fairly quickly seen by them as an obvious fraud, leaked to their friends in the local media. And two outstanding local websites, Second City Cop and especially CWB Chicago (which reports honestly about crime in the Windy City, and which depends on donations – donate here), have been to go-to sources putting it all together many steps ahead of what the more established media were willing to publish.

CWB Chicago has a round-up of the latest developments in the fast-breaking case. Some excerpts, but be sure to read the whole thing:

Saturday evening, CPD’s top spokesperson said investigators’ interrogations of Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and his brother Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo have “shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We've reached out to [Smollett’s] attorney to request a follow-up interview." The two men were identified as being the "persons of interest" seen on surveillance images near the attack scene. (snip)

CBSChicago reporter Charlie De Mar reported that the Osundairo brothers were paid $3,500 to participate in the ruse with a promise to be paid another $500 upon their return from a two-week trip to Nigeria that began hours after Smollett reported the purported hate crime to police.

De Mar also reported that the Osundairo brothers told detectives that they and Smollett “rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.”

Rafer Weigel of Fox Chicago also reported that detectives said the Osundairos were paid by Smollett to orchestrate the attack. Weigel, CNN, and Rob Elgas of ABC7 all reported that detectives had secured proof that the Osundairo brothers purchased a rope for the noose at an Ace Hardware store. That information was also included in a detailed tip about the case that CWBChicago received on Feb. 6th. (snip)

And, in a potential sign of things to come, Fox News reporter Mike Tobin reported late Saturday that “Jussie Smollett is no longer considered a victim in this case.”

One of the most intriguing, but as-yet unconfirmed, aspects of the case is raised by CWBChicago’s publication on Thursday of the search warrant used to enter the apartment of the  Osundairo Brothers. In an example of the building on each other’s work of these two blogs, Second City Cop explains today:

Numerous readers sent us the Search Warrant receipt that had been circulating around Twitter, Facebook and (again) the CWB blog that has done incredible amounts of reporting. (snip)

Source: CWBChicago

…right on Line One is what interests us....or rather, what might finally bring the whole mess to the FBI:

  • Magazine on bird cage

The warrant already lists Proof of Residency farther down the receipt. Why seize a magazine? Is this the magazine that might have all the letters cut out of it for the mail threat that was sent from a south side post office to the studio about a month ago? It's hard to believe that someone would keep that around afterwards, but everyone knows the feds take a very dim view of using the Post Office for anything illegal.

If this theory pans out, on top of state charges, the feds will have to get involved. If, as many suspect, the Osundairo Brothers have turned state’s evidence (why else would they have been released by the cops so quickly after their arrest?), Jussie Smollett’s troubles have only just begun.

The ongoing collapse of the claimed hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett has been an example of bottom-up, not top-down news gathering. Chicago’s Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and the CPD’s official communications have at every opportunity defended the original narrative. But the rank-and-file cops, quite probably outraged at what was fairly quickly seen by them as an obvious fraud, leaked to their friends in the local media. And two outstanding local websites, Second City Cop and especially CWB Chicago (which reports honestly about crime in the Windy City, and which depends on donations – donate here), have been to go-to sources putting it all together many steps ahead of what the more established media were willing to publish.

CWB Chicago has a round-up of the latest developments in the fast-breaking case. Some excerpts, but be sure to read the whole thing:

Saturday evening, CPD’s top spokesperson said investigators’ interrogations of Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and his brother Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo have “shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We've reached out to [Smollett’s] attorney to request a follow-up interview." The two men were identified as being the "persons of interest" seen on surveillance images near the attack scene. (snip)

CBSChicago reporter Charlie De Mar reported that the Osundairo brothers were paid $3,500 to participate in the ruse with a promise to be paid another $500 upon their return from a two-week trip to Nigeria that began hours after Smollett reported the purported hate crime to police.

De Mar also reported that the Osundairo brothers told detectives that they and Smollett “rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.”

Rafer Weigel of Fox Chicago also reported that detectives said the Osundairos were paid by Smollett to orchestrate the attack. Weigel, CNN, and Rob Elgas of ABC7 all reported that detectives had secured proof that the Osundairo brothers purchased a rope for the noose at an Ace Hardware store. That information was also included in a detailed tip about the case that CWBChicago received on Feb. 6th. (snip)

And, in a potential sign of things to come, Fox News reporter Mike Tobin reported late Saturday that “Jussie Smollett is no longer considered a victim in this case.”

One of the most intriguing, but as-yet unconfirmed, aspects of the case is raised by CWBChicago’s publication on Thursday of the search warrant used to enter the apartment of the  Osundairo Brothers. In an example of the building on each other’s work of these two blogs, Second City Cop explains today:

Numerous readers sent us the Search Warrant receipt that had been circulating around Twitter, Facebook and (again) the CWB blog that has done incredible amounts of reporting. (snip)

Source: CWBChicago

…right on Line One is what interests us....or rather, what might finally bring the whole mess to the FBI:

  • Magazine on bird cage

The warrant already lists Proof of Residency farther down the receipt. Why seize a magazine? Is this the magazine that might have all the letters cut out of it for the mail threat that was sent from a south side post office to the studio about a month ago? It's hard to believe that someone would keep that around afterwards, but everyone knows the feds take a very dim view of using the Post Office for anything illegal.

If this theory pans out, on top of state charges, the feds will have to get involved. If, as many suspect, the Osundairo Brothers have turned state’s evidence (why else would they have been released by the cops so quickly after their arrest?), Jussie Smollett’s troubles have only just begun.