Yesterday (Apr. 21), Jussie Smollett's older brother, JoJo, penned an op-ed letter defending the Empire star.
The letter was written exclusively for BET.com and it covers holes in the case, the Osundarios brothers' statement, years of corruption by the Chicago Police Department, and the role that the media played in helping "convict Jussie in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom."
JoJo starts the letter off by saying, "It has not yet been 90 says since my younger brother, Jussie Smollett, was assaulted on a cold winter night in Chicago. Within less than three months, his life has been turned upside down as my family and I have witnessed him endure unrelenting attacks to his character and reputation."
"Like so many others, this entire process quickly devolved from a focus on him as a victim of assault, to him being falsely accused and held responsible for a crime that was perpetrated against him. To define this experience as unjust would be an understatement."
JoJo pointed out that Chicago PD had many leaks in the case, which resulted in CPD being investigated.
"After several leaks from “unnamed” police sources and despite a long history of wrongful accusations from the Chicago Police Department, many in the media accepted these unconfirmed reports as fact. The numerous police leaks, which prompted an internal Chicago Police investigation, convicted Jussie in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom," JoJo wrote.
He also pointed out that the Osundarios brothers had been arrested before for attempted murder, which was underreported.
"With not one inkling of solid evidence, many believed the false witness testimony from two suspects who turned into witnesses, even though they lacked standard credibility. It was under-reported that one of the 'witnesses' had previously been arrested for attempted murder ending with a plea deal for aggravated battery, or that the brothers repeatedly expressed homophobia on their social media in the past. Additionally, it was never reported that they changed their story while under police interrogation," JoJo said.
Jussie's oldest sibling pointed out the many inconsistencies of the case.
"Following an evaluation by prosecutors, before any court proceedings or a trial, the case was dismissed – dropped completely. I think that they, being legally trained and experienced, determined that the case against Jussie was weak. There were lots of things that came out in public to give them concern. After the initial reporting about a 'check' paid to allegedly stage the incident, which turned out to have been a check for personal training and nutrition, other inconsistencies came out where the public accusations did not match up against the truth," he wrote.
"One important note, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department announced publicly that Jussie’s motive in staging an attack was so he could make more money from Empire. Fox immediately said that wasn’t true but the police chief never withdrew his accusation. The chief also stated as fact that Jussie had sent himself the threatening letter that arrived at the Empire production offices weeks before the attack. The FBI then refuted this claim. Again, the chief did not correct his accusations. Letting it float for the public to either believe or not."
"While very few people are courageous enough to swim upstream and resist the popular conformity of the day, I still can’t believe how many people failed to ask the question: 'What if Jussie is telling the truth,'" JoJo wrote.
He then went on to chronicle several instances in which Jussie gave back monetarily to the community, noting the actor's clean water donations to Flint, Michigan and the money he's given to organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.
JoJo Smollett is the eldest of the Smollett siblings, and he runs a nonprofit that helps developmentally disabled people successfully join America's workforce.
Towards the end of January, the "Powerful" singer was leaving a Subway restaurant in Chicago early in the morning when he said he was allegedly attacked by two men. The men allegedly beat and kicked Jussie Smollett while also shouting racial and homophobic slurs while tying a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on the actor.