Jussie Smollett charged with felony, out on bond for allegedly staging hoax attack

The judge set bond at $100,000 and ordered Smollett's passport surrendered. Smollett has consistently denied any role in staging the alleged attack.
9:40 | 02/22/19

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Transcript for Jussie Smollett charged with felony, out on bond for allegedly staging hoax attack
Defendant smollett further details that he wanted able to attack him but not hurt him too badly. The bruises on his face were most likely self-inflicted. We have the check that he used to pay them. Today Chicago authorities laying out what they say is the twisted tale of jussie smollett. The stunt was orchestrated by smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. A Rope around my neck. Reporter: The accused attacker the caught on tape buying red hats and ski masks. And today, one more twist, entertainer jussie smollett arrested and charged. Do can you believe your brother's story? Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on homophobic and racial language. When that didn't work he paid 3,500 dollars to stage this attack. Reporter: That reported hate crime was all a hoax. How do you not believe that. It's the truth. I think the question on everyone's minds is will jussie smollett be prosecuted? Will he go to jail? While this is not a violent crime, this is a significant crime. If this is true that jussie put together this hoax, then I think what we're looking at is something much, much deeper psychologically, emotionally, that may be going on. Reporter: In a courtroom today, smollett listened to prosecutors lay out their case. Jussie smollett appearing at his bond hearing, a serious look on his face throughout, turning to his lawyers, whispering things, sometimes nodding in agreement. His family standing in support of him rows behind him. Reporter: Smollett out on a $100,000 bond, chopper footage capturing hi heading back to the "Empire" set studio. It was the morning of January 29th. At 2:00 in the morning, jussie smollett reported he was the victim of a hate crime. Reporter: Smollett claimed he was walking home from a subway restaurant when he says two men physically attacked him, hurling racist and homophobic slurs, describing that moment to ABC news. As I was crossing the intersection, I heard "Empire." And I don't answer to empire. And I kept walking and heard empire . And I turned around and said what did you just say to me, and I turned around and saw the attacker masked. And he said "This Maga country", punched me right in the face. So I punched him right back. We started tussling, and then it just stopped and they ran off. I noticed the rope around my neck, and I started screaming. Reporter: Chicago police immediately begin investigating. Anytime a hate crime is reported in the city Chicago it gets the same attention. Reporter: But his entire story was about to come under fire. From the very beginning we had some questions about it. During that time frame we, we interviewed over 100 individuals in a canvass of the area. We located approximately 35 of our Chicago police pod cameras. We additionally found over 20 private sector cameras. Through those cameras, they identified two persons of interest, brothers, tracking them through cab and ride share records for a week. We tracked them going to o'hare airport and jumping on a flight to Nigeria. We were able to locate and identify these two individuals when they entered into the country at customs. We took them into custody. Reporter: The brothers made a compelling often. She said something smelled fishy. She did not think they were the offenders, as were reported. It was at that time that this investigation started to spin in aetely new direction. Reporter: Police say they learned smollett's alleged attack was actually days in the making. Defendant smollett then stated he wanted to stage an attack where able would appear to batter him. Defendant smollett suggested that the older brother ola assist with the attack. Reporter: Prosecutors claim they had business dealings in the past. Able was a source of designer drugs for smollett. Reporter: Allegedly, smollett made arrangements to meet with one of the brothers to discuss the threatening letter he received. He indicated his displeasure of the handling of the homophobic letter he received three days prior. It in big caps, "Maga." Did I make that up, too? Reporter: Yes, prosecutors said he did make it they said cameras captured the trio planning the attack. He wanted ola to place a rope around his neck, place gasoline on him and yell "This is Maga country." It lasted 45 second. There was a change in the plan in that bleach was going to be used instead of gasoline. Reporter: A key part of the plan, that light pole with a camera. It was pointed in a different direction. During the "Good morning, America" interview, smollett stated. It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more. These statements by smollett further misled the police and public to believe his attackers were white. Reporter: Today his legal team pushed back on the charges. Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. He fiercely and soundly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing. Smollett once touted himself as an activist for communities targeted by hate. I want young people, young members of the lbgtq community, young black children to know how strong they are, to know the power that they hold in their little pinky. For jussie smollett as an African-American, gay M purported to be a social activist during black history month, to actually use symbols of a noose, yelling, "This is Maga country", it's almost as if he was using the very divisiveness that we see in this country and exploiting it to his advantage. Bogus police reports cause real harm. My C is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism. Reporter: A FBI report showed a 17% rise in hate crimes reported across the country. It is also clear that the instances of false reportings are very low. Somewhere between 2% and 8%. What this alleged hoax may do is it may embolden people to commit more of these crimes. Well, if, in fact, he did make up this story, that it is an elaborate hoax, I don't see a bad person. What I do see is someone who is in a lot of psychological pain. Reporter: For the psychologist, it speaks volumes. You do a disservice when you lie about things like this. He said when you make something up like this, do you a disservice to others who are victims. Yes, that is true, but is that also the unconscious talking and revealing what may have been going on with him in his mind? I will never be the man that this did not happen to. I am forever changed. Reporter: Smollett now facing an uphill battle to salvage his reputation. Fox, the studio that produces "Empire" saying that they're evaluating the situation and are considering their options. As for the city of Chicago, they say he only has one option. Absolute justice would be an apology to this city. That he smeared. I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention. Because that's who really deserves the amount of attention that we're giving to this particular incident. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Eva pilgrim in Chicago.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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