Let's Get to the So-Called Assault...
Then on January 25, Jussie sent off a text message to Abel Osundairo, who worked as an extra on Empire and as Smollett's personal trainer. It read: "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?"
Police say Abel and Jussie had been friends since the fall of 2017 - and that Jussie sometimes bought ecstasy from Abel.
The Next Step
Later on the January 25, Smollett and Abel met face to face outside the latter's Chicago apartment and talked inside Jussie's car about staging the attack. Cops say this is when Ola, Abel's brother, was brought onboard. The siblings are pictured here.
This Was the Original Plan, Cops Say:
Ola was going to place a rope around Jussie's neck, pour gasoline on him and scream, "This is MAGA country." At that point in the planning, they say Jussie gave the brothers a $100 bill to go purchase necessary items for the "attack."
Two Days Later...
On January 27, the trio met up again and drove around Chicago to scout locations. Police believe Smollett told his associates to leave their cell phones and pointed out a surveillance camera near Jussie's apartment that he thought would record the incident.
This Was One of Many Mistakes He Made
Police first became suspicious of Smollett after he took them to this spot, post-attack, and immediately pointed out the camera. (Which, as it turns out, was pointed in the opposite direction and recorded nothing of note.)