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Judge rules to unseal records in Jussie Smollett case

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Posted at 12:46 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 15:46:35-04

(KABC) — A judge ruled Thursday to unseal documents in the case of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.

The records were sealed in March shortly after charges against Smollett were abruptly dropped by prosecutors. Attorneys representing the media, including our affiliate station ABC7, challenged the sealing of the records.

The unsealed records are expected to be released at some point Thursday.

The "Empire" actor faced several charges for allegedly staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself in January.

The TV actor claimed he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in the Streeterville neighborhood on January 29. He said two men physically attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs, threw a chemical liquid on him and looped a rope around his neck.

Two days after the alleged attack, Chicago police released surveillance images of two people they said they considered persons of interest in the attack.

But the investigation turned on Smollett. He was accused of allegedly orchestrating the attack with the Osundairo brothers, who he knew. One brother was an extra on "Empire" and the other was Smollett's personal trainer.

Prosecutors said Smollett paid the brothers to pull off the staged attack.

Smollett had also reported a threatening letter sent to him on the "Empire" set containing a white powder, a week before the alleged attack. The letter is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis, sources said, and experts believe Smollett could face federal charges for allegedly sending the letter.

All charges against Smollett were dropped in late February in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment.

Smollett has maintained his innocence. The City of Chicago is suing the actor for the costs of the investigation and damage to the city's reputation.

This story was written by KABC.