The Chicago Police Department has more damning evidence against Jussie Smollett that the public does not yet have access to, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts Monday morning. Smollett has been accused of staging his own hate crime.
"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 said. "There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened."
Johnson also defended his department and described the processes they went through during the investigation; he also underlined the presumption of Smollett’s innocence.
Johnson said: "So let me put this out there, first and foremost. He still has the presumption of innocence until he has his day in court. So what happened at the very beginning when he gave his version of events, he described it and we treated it like a hate crime. One thing that I think is important to recognize is that although two of the attackers were wearing masks, he said he was able to see around their eyes that they were white-skinned, or that at least the one guy was white-skinned. So that’s how we approached it. The entire time that we investigated the incident, he was treated like a victim. As you know, when we picked up the two individuals after we identified who they were, we picked them up at O’Hare airport when they were coming back from overseas. We took them in and started talking to them. We were legally able to hold them for 48 hours and I refused to let CPD characterize him as a suspect unless we had evidence. The 47thhour that we had those individuals it changed.
Johnson continued: "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."
TENSION ON EMPIRE SET?
Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the affirming, supportive Instagram message Smollett’s Empire co-star Terrence Howard posted about him over the weekend, Howard is furious with Smollett, TMZ reports.
Sources from the hit Fox show say Howard was so upset after Smollett turned himself into police on Thursday, he spent most of his day in his trailer. Howard reportedly never believed Smollett’s story and has repeatedly urged him to "come clean," per TMZ.
Lingering questions over Smollett’s guilt or innocence prompted producers to pull Smollett from the final two episodes of the show.
Meanwhile, the Empire star will be allowed to travel to New York and Calfiornia to meet with lawyers as his case proceeds, a rep told reporters Monday. One of his attorneys is Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles-based lawyer whose clients have included Michael Jackson and Colin Kaepernick.
He is free on $100,000 bail. His next date in court is March 14th.AUDIO: POLICE SUPER ON JUSSIE SMOLLETT 2
AUDIO: POLICE SUPER ON JUSSIE SMOLLETT 1