The "hate hoax" story that has gripped the nation's attention for the past few weeks continues to add new wrinkles. The latest: that embattled "Empire" star Jussie Smollett allegedly told police when he surrendered himself on Thursday that he has an untreated drug problem.
The report comes from TMZ, which has been tracking the twisting and turning celebrity "hate crime attack" saga from the beginning. The police report on the alleged hate hoax appears to back up the premise, specifying that Smollett, "on several occassions," obtained drugs from one of the co-conspirators.
"Jussie told police, during his arrest, he has a drug problem ... one for which he's never been treated," TMZ reported in an update on its report on the Smollett charges Thursday. "That could become relevant later in the case because, as we reported, cops say Jussie bought ecstasy from Abel. IF he were convicted, a drug issue could be a mitigating factor that gets his sentenced reduced." TMZ also notes that Smollett "answered 'no' to alcohol or mental health problems."
In the bond report released Thursday, Chicago PD provided the following description of Smollett's relationship with Abel Osundairo, one of the alleged co-conspirators (emphasis added):
Defendant Smollett was close friends with an individual by the name of Ambibola "Abel" Osundairo, who is 25 years old. Smollett and Abel initiated their friendship in the fall of 2017. During the course of this friendship, Defendant Smollett and Abel socialized together, exercised together, as well as worked together on the Fox television series Empire. Within that working relationship, Abel was a stand-in for a character named "Kai", who is a love interest of the Defendant Smollett's character on the Empire TV Show. Additionally, text messages between Defendant Smollett and Abel revealed that Abel was a source of designer drugs for Defendant Smollett. Specifically, since the spring of 2018, on several occasions, Defendant Smollett requested Abel to provide him with "Molly", which is a street name for the narcotic Ecstasy.
The report alleges that Smollett initiated the planning for the staged attack on the morning of January 25, 2019, asking when Abel and his brother, Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, 27, were planning to leave for their trip to Nigeria. Later that day, police say, Smollett laid out his plan to Abel to stage the attack and suggested he invite his brother to help.
The report underscores that Smollett knew both of the men well and suggests he could not have mistaken them for white males, as he had claimed. The report also asserts that Smollett expressed his dissatisfaction with the studio's response to the hate letter he allegedly sent to himself a few days prior:
After Abel confirmed the date and time of his trip [Jan. 29], Defendant Smollett texted Abel stating "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?" The two then made arrangements to meet at the Cinespace Studios that afternoon, where Defendant Smollett subsequently drove Abel home to Abel's Apartment in the Lakeview neighborhood. During the ride, Defendant Smollett indicated to Abel his displeasure with the Empire Studio's handling of the racist and homophobic letter he received three days prior. Defendant Smollett then stated that he wanted to stage an attack where Abel would appear to batter him. Defendant Smollett also suggested that Abel's older brother Ola assist him with the attack. Defendant Smollet had met Ola on several previous occasions through Abel. Additionally, Ola had also appeared as an extra of the Empire TV show. Abel and Ola are both dark skinned, black males, born in the United States, with Nigerian decent.