The Jussie Smollett Attack Investigation Just Took Another Bizarre Turn
A day after Jussie Smollett released a statement addressing reports that he orchestrated the hate crime he endured nearly three weeks ago, outlets are reporting more information about the alleged set up, and the Empire star's motive behind it.
On Monday (February 18), TMZ reported that suspects Ola and Abel Osundairo, who were released without charges over the weekend, told cops that the attack was not only faked, it was also rehearsed. They explained that they got in a car with the actor/singer and scouted locations, settling on the scene of the assault because Smollett thought a surveillance camera would capture the action. However, the recording device was pointed in the wrong direction and didn't catch anything.
Chicago's CBS 2 also revealed new information regarding the case, with multiple sources claiming the 36-year-old got upset when a disturbing letter that was sent to the show's studio on January 22 didn't get a "bigger reaction."
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told the news channel, with others corroborating.
The letter was addressed to Smollett and crafted with letters cut from magazines to create racial and homophobic threats toward the actor, as well as a stick figure drawing of a man hanging from a tree with a gun shooting at him. The envelope contained a white substance, which was later identified as crushed aspirin. The return address was simply "MAGA," which refers to Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan. When detectives searched the Osundairo brothers' house, they found a “piece of paper/writing,” a magazine, and a "wallet with stamps."
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump," the brothers said in a statement. "We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
The brothers are acquaintances of Smollett and claim he paid them $3500 to carry out the attack.
"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," a statement from Smollett's lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said. "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."
"One of these purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video," the statement continued. "It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity."