Joe Otterson, Variety, June 4, 2019
This is the first public acknowledgment that Smollett will not return for the final season of the Fox drama series. He was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season following severe backlash stemming from accusations the actor and musician faked a hate crime against himself earlier this year in Chicago.
The same production sources also note tensions were ratcheted up on set between the show’s primarily black cast members, who still believe Smollett is innocent, and the mostly white below-the-line crew, many of whom believe Smollett is guilty.
The records in Smollett’s case were originally sealed, but a judge ordered in May that thousands of pages of documents on the case be released. Among the documents released were police statements from the Osundario brothers, who claimed that Smollett paid them to stage the attack, as well as text messages from the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Another batch of documents is due to be released later this week. Approximately 70 hours of surveillance videos and bodycam footage that was collected by Chicago detectives during the course of the investigation is also expected to be released to the public.