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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

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.