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The Jussie Smollett case has been a roller coaster of reporting, as every day there seems to be more information shifting the narrative of the alleged attack against the Empire actor-singer. Now, with some unnamed police claiming the actor-singer staged the incident, Smollett remains steadfast in his depiction of events and claims he was indeed the victim of a hate crime.
The alleged hate crime took place around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Chicago, where Jussie Smollett lives while filming Empire. According to Smollett, two men wearing ski masks approached him, placed a noose around his neck, doused him in bleach and shouted “This is MAGA country.”
The actor-singer stood by his story when he sat down for an interview with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, offering up all the details of a racist, homophobic attack against him and remarking, “I just want them to find them” about the Chicago Police locating the attackers.
With only one heavily circulated image of the two alleged attackers available to police (above), things began to seem “fishy” last week when the two men in the photo were indeed found, questioned and later arrested — “fishy” because the two men are brothers of Nigerian descent, not Trump supporters and are acquaintances of Jussie Smollett, with at least one of them having appeared as an extra on Empire.
The brothers were arrested on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and released without charges on Friday, Feb. 15, after investigators cited the discovery of new evidence.
Only days ago the Chicago Police said of the Jussie Smollett case that allegations of the actor having staged the attack were “inaccurate.” But the public outcry against Smollett has been swift, due to many outlets reporting that “police sources” with knowledge of the investigation are claiming the Chicago Police believe the actor-singer paid the two brothers to orchestrate the assault.
But the Chicago Police detectives working on the Smollett case — of which there are reportedly 12 — have not confirmed that complete turn of events. Anthony Guglielmi, Chief Communications Officer of the Chicago PD, tweeted on Feb. 15, “Case Update: Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”
He followed that up on Feb. 17 with this: “While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what’s been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident.”
Friday, Feb. 15 also saw release of a statement on behalf of the actor-singer, now being represented by defense attorney Michael Monico. The statement reads:
As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.
With the investigation into the alleged attack against Jussie Smollett still pending, it’s unlikely we will hear more from the Chicago Police before detectives have a strong sense of what happened in those early hours of Jan. 29.
We will continue to update our reporting on the Jussie Smollett case as new information becomes available.
Featured image via Getty Images