Authorities told CBS Chicago that they are seeking to reinterview the ‘Empire’ actor after two brothers suspected of attacking Smollett allegedly claimed he paid them to do so.
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to stage an assault against him, going so far as to rehearse the attack with them, police sources told CBS Chicago.
Smollett has claimed that two men looped a rope around his neck and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him on Jan. 29. “They called me a f—–t, they called me a n—-r,” Smollett said a “Good Morning America” interview on Feb. 14. “There’s no which way you cut it. I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae.”
Questions about the veracity of Smollett’s account have been growing in recent days, however. Sources told the news station that at least one of the brothers bought the rope at Smollett’s request. Smollett also paid for the rope at Crafty Beaver Hardware Store, located in the Ravenswood neighborhood, the weekend prior to the incident, sources reportedly claimed.
The brothers, who appeared as extras on “Empire,” were allegedly paid $3,500 to participate in the attack, and then promised they would receive an additional $500 after returning from a trip to Nigeria, the sources claimed. They traveled to Africa shortly after the attack, per the report.
The brothers, who were arrested on suspicion of their role in the alleged attack earlier this week, after they came back from Nigeria, were released Friday.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the ‘Empire’ case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the ‘Empire’ cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
Smollet’s lawyers have said that he felt “victimized” by reports suggesting that the attack was staged.
Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh
Authorities’ recent skepticism of
Via (The Daily Beast)