The Jussie Smollett Allegations: A Timeline Of What Happened When

A lot has happened in roughly two months — from the Empire actor's initial police report in Chicago to prosecutors' decision to drop the charges against him. Here's a brief history of the key dates.
Jussie Smollett poses for his booking photo after surrendering to police last month in Chicago. The Empire actor was arrested for filing a false police report. Source: Chicago Police Department via Getty Images

In a span of just two months, Jussie Smollett has made a radical transformation in the public eye: from a familiar face to weekly viewers of the TV show Empire, to a lightning rod of controversy — a name likely to inspire as many strong opinions as the people who bring it up.

So how, exactly, did all this happen in so little time?

Here's an attempt to plot that tortuous path for those at home who might be, understandably, quite confused. Just scroll down to read the timeline in order, complete with links to NPR's previous coverage, or click on an date below to jump to a specific incident.

  • Jan. 22: Smollett receives threatening letter
  • Jan. 29: Smollett reports getting attacked
  • Feb. 1: Smollett releases first official statement
  • Feb. 13: Smollett speaks to ABC News — the same day "persons of interest" are apprehended
  • Feb. 15: Police investigation takes a turn
  • Feb. 19: Cook County state's attorney announces recusal
  • Feb. 20: Smollett charged with disorderly conduct
  • Police explain

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