Untouched Sandwich Made Cops Suspicious of Smollett

Police thought it odd he still had it with him after alleged assault
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2021 9:45 AM CST
Jussie Smollett's Subway Sandwich Raised Suspicions
Actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Thursday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Jussie Smollett has been convicted of making up a story about being assaulted in Chicago, and a Subway sandwich seems to have played a role in why police questioned his account. The revelation comes from Eddie Johnson, who served as Chicago's police chief when the Smollett incident took place in January 2019. In an interview with NewsNation's Morning in America, Johnson ticks off a few factors that raised red flags. For one thing, it was "insanely cold" the night of the alleged attack. "Nobody was out." Johnson, who is Black, also thought it odd that Smollett still had a noose around his neck when officers arrived at his apartment. "I don’t think there are many Black people in America that would have a noose around their neck, and wouldn’t immediately take it off,” he says. Smollett, in contrast, was "nonchalant" in handling it.

But then there was the sandwich:

  • “I tell you one thing that really tipped us off that told us there was a problem," says Johnson. "He went to a Subway sandwich shop at like 2 in the morning to get a sandwich, OK, that's fine. He comes back, gets attacked in a hate crime, supposed hate crime, and during all this scuffle, they poured bleach on him, when he got up and went into his apartment building, he got up and still had that Subway sandwich with him. That doesn't happen."
  • Typically, assault victims drop whatever belongings they have, but "this guy had the sandwich in his hand and it had never been touched. That was a real tipping point to us that something was amiss."

Smollett's attorney says the actor plans to appeal. In the meantime, the Chicago Tribune reports that it's unlikely the 39-year-old will get any jail time after the guilty verdict. The convictions were for disorderly conduct, one of the lowest-level felonies on the books in Illinois. While jail time is possible, it's more likely that Smollett would get probation and a fine, according to experts quoted in the story. One wild card, however, is the high-profile nature of the case: The judge may want to use Smollett as an example. (More Jussie Smollett stories.)

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