As part of Jussie Smollett’s bond hearing Thursday, prosecutors read aloud texts they say were exchanged between the Empire actor and Abel Osundario, who allegedly planned the hoax hate crime along with his brother Ola and Jussie.
On January 25, the day after prosecutors say Smollett received a threatening letter he sent to himself at Fox’s Empire studio in Chicago that contained a white powder that turned out to be crushed Advil, Smollett allegedly texted Abel.
Smollett asked Abel when he planned to leave for a trip to Nigeria, and after learning of the January 29 departure, asked to meet face-to-face to discuss something.
“Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face,” read the text, according to prosecutors.
The two allegedly then planned to meet later on the 25th at Abel’s apartment. During the drive to the apartment, prosecutors say Smollett expressed frustration that the letter hadn’t received enough attention and broached the idea of an orchestrated attack to be executed by Abel and Ola.
Prosecutors told the judge that Smollett later talked to the brothers about the details of the plan, from what they should say — “Empire fa**ot”, “Empire ni**er”, “this is MAGA country” — to props they should use — a noose and gasoline.
They later changed the gasoline to bleach, prosecutors added.
Then Smollett allegedly gave the brothers a check for $3,500, backdated to Jan. 23.
The brothers were captured on video buying a red had and ski masks from a store the day before the attack.
Smollett’s bond was set at $100,000, and he was required to hand over his passport.
“As you stand before me we presume you’re innocent but the state read me a proffer that is outrageous. If true, the noose conjures up [the] greatest evil in this country,” Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. told Smollett.