So, let’s recap because now this has become a truly bizarre tale. Jussie Smollett, an actor on the Fox series Empire, said two white men attacked him. They punched him, threw bleach on him, and then put a rope around his neck.
“This is MAGA country,” one of the alleged attackers said. This occurred on January 29. Well, there’s been a lot of trouble corroborating this attack with evidence. First, Smollett was hesitant to turn over his cell phone. He was speaking with his agent when he was reportedly attacked. Then, the two suspects turned out to be two Nigerian brothers, who knew Smollett; one of which was an extra on Empire. They reportedly bought the rope that was used in the alleged assault, paid by Smollett to attack him, and even rehearsed it. CBS Chicago later reported that the rope was actually bought Crafty Beaver Hardware Store and that Smollett was the one who paid for it:
CNN: Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault.— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) February 16, 2019
The sources tell CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.
Latest on #JussieSmollett:— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 16, 2019
Several #CPD sources confirmed detectives were able to show the 2 Nigerian brothers questioned by police had purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace hardware. The brothers agreed to cooperate with police who are investigating...(1/2)
Shocked, I really thought MAGA folks (who are all over downtown Chicago) were waiting with a rope/bottle of bleach to ambush a righ guy at 2am in minus 4 degrees because those are conditions where all people go out for Subway rather than order Seamless.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 17, 2019
Seemed so real?????? https://t.co/E4z9aaX5v1
Jussie Smollett paid two brothers to stage an attack against him, directed them to buy items used in the alleged assault and actually rehearsed it with them, sources say.
Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
The brothers, who were questioned by police this week before being released, were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return.
They left for Nigeria later in the day on Jan. 29, after the attack.
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett.
The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.
The New York Times has a timeline of this alleged hate crime that’s quickly devolving into a total fiasco. Police raided the brothers’ apartment on February 13; they went from persons of interest to suspects. They were then arrested on February, then released without charge, and not considered suspects anymore. No reason was given.
The fact remains that this investigation has gone from possible hate crime to whether it was orchestrated. And with these latest developments, has Smollett made time to speak with Chicago authorities again? He has not (via Deadline):
Things may be moving towards some sort of formal prosecution in the Jussie Smollett alleged attack case but Chicago PD have definitely yet to have a new sit-down with the Empire actor as more “developments” come to the surface.
As rumors swirl of a Grand Jury being convened soon on what was once classified as a “potential hate crime” on January 29, the Windy City cops said Sunday that they “cannot confirm any details as the investigation is still on-going.” However, a well-placed law enforcement source tells Deadline that despite emerging and complicating evidence and requests for a further formal interview, Smollett has not made himself available “in a timely fashion” to investigators.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and a sense of frustration with the response by Smollett and his lawyers,” the source stated.
Gee—I wonder why he might be ducking another visit. On the other hand, Empire’s showrunner tweeted support for Smollett, saying he believed him. That’s fine, but belief is not evidence.
Smollett said he thought he was attacked because of his criticisms of the Trump administration. Save it, buddy. It's not looking good for you at all.