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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

CNN+ to Debut New Documentary Series With Chicago vs. Jussie Smollett

The news streamer will launch its FlashDocs unit with Chicago vs. Jussie Smollett.

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Actor Jussie Smollett after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Actor Jussie Smollett after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo (Getty Images)

Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. We thought we were leaving the Jussie Smollett drama behind, but the recently launched CNN+ has one more deep dive in store. According to a press release provided to The Root, the streaming network has announced the new FlashDocs unit will explore “timely and topical pop culture stories.” Its first project, which premieres Friday on April 1 (no we’re not joking), is Chicago vs. Jussie Smollett.

In case you’ve had more important things to worry about in the last few years, which you definitely have, Smollett was charged with filing a false police report and disorderly conduct after staging a fake hate crime. The saga then dragged on through the courts, with the city of Chicago suing the former Empire star for the money and resources it spent on the initial investigation. As we previously reported at The Root, the case recently culminated in the actor being sentenced to “150 days in Cook County jail…and 30 months of felony probation with the freedom to travel.” However, just a week later, Jussie was released from jail pending appeal of his sentence.

The doc “features never-before-broadcast footage from the night of the alleged attack, as well as the interrogation-room confession by the Osundairo brothers that ultimately led to the charges against Smollett.” There are also interviews with Jussie’s brothers, JoJo and Jocqui Smollett; his defense attorneys, Tamara Walker and Heather Widell; Eddie T. Johnson, former superintendent of the Chicago police department; Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney; and Dan Webb, special prosecutor.

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“This film offers a provocative and nuanced perspective of a saga that for three years has dominated headlines like no other story,” Eric Johnson, Executive Producer, Program Development for CNN, said in a statement. “Everyone knows something about this story, but our film explores how the frenzy surrounding Smollett exposed historic fault lines within Chicago’s politics, ultimately leading to infighting, media gamesmanship and the question of justice versus revenge.”

It’s understandable why CNN would choose this story as the first subject in the series. The network covered the trial extensively and has endless amounts of footage to choose from, but honestly, this isn’t a subject we need to rehash again. It’s OK for some stories to fade into the back of the newscycle. And you just know they’re already working on “the slap” special.

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Chicago vs. Jussie Smollett premieres Friday, April 1 on CNN+.