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Actor Jussie Smollett in the court the day all charges were dropped against him. Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/AFP/Getty Images

Charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett were abruptly dropped last month for filing a false police report.

Background: Smollett claimed to be the victim of a hate crime in January when 2 men violently attacked him. He was charged with filing false police reports and planning the attack in an attempt to save his character from being written off the "Empire."

Timeline:

Jan. 18: Smollett received an envelope with "MAGA" written on it, and a letter with racist and homophobic language inside, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Jan. 29: A week later, Smollett was attacked by 2 men who threw a noose around his neck and allegedly poured bleach on him, CNN reports. He filed a police report that day. Smollett received national attention and sympathy including from President Trump, per Billboard.

Feb. 12: Smollett provides the police with redacted phone records amid rumors that he filed a false police report, reports NBC Chicago.

Feb. 15: Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the 2 suspects, Nigerian brothers, are in custody, but they are released from police custody the same day, AP reports.

Feb. 16: The focus of the case shifted from the 2 brothers to Smollett, according to AP.

Feb. 20: Police charge Smollett with falsifying a police report and disorderly conduct. Smollett allegedly paid the 2 brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.

Feb. 22: It is announced that Smollett's character will be written off from the show "Empire," per CNN.

March 9: A Chicago grand jury indicts Smollett on 16 felony counts "related to making a false report", per the AP.

March 26: All charges against Smollett are dropped by prosecutors. Assistant state's attorney Joseph Magats told the New York Time's Julie Bosman that they need to "prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime."

March 28: Smollett receives a letter from the city of Chicago’s legal department requesting more than $130,000 for "overtime hours in the investigation" of his reported attack.

"Do I think justice was served? No ... I think this city is still owed an apology."
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson

April 4: Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police and the suburban police chief associations gave Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx a "no confidence" vote and demanded her resignation over her office's handing of the case.

  • The city's Law Department said it will file a civil suit "in the near future" against Smollett for refusing to reimburse the $130,000 to cover the cost of the probe.

April 11: The city of Chicago files a civil complaint against Smollett as a result of Smollett's refusal to reimburse the city for the cost of the investigation, perWGC9.

June 21: A Cook County judge appointed a special prosecutor to re-investigate the circumstances of Smollett's alleged attack, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Go Deeper: How Chicago police cracked the Jussie Smollett case

Go deeper

Patrick Gaspard to leave George Soros' Open Society Foundations

Patrick Gaspard speaks onstage at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Photo: Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.