Unbelievable would be an understatement here, if what new reports suggest is true…
It is Saturday, February 16, and new reports are coming out, by outlets such as CNN, TMZ and Deadline, citing sources close to the investigation that suggest Jussie Smollett orchestrated his own attack.
Per CNN and TMZ, more evidence is coming to light that suggest the two suspects, who were arrested and later released as they’re said to be fully cooperating with law enforcement, had been paid and acting under Jussie’s lead. TMZ reports one of the brothers had given his phone to police, revealing a phone call between him and Jussie sometime before the alleged attack occurred.
And according to CNN‘s sources, the two brothers purchased the rope found around Jussie’s neck at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago. A source with USAToday claims they told police Jussie paid them to do it, as it’s also reported that CNN sources claim police do believe the Empire actor staged the assault that occurred on January 29 — an alleged act of violence involving a rope and a poured unknown chemical substance. It had been reported that “racial and homophobic” slurs were used during the attack.
In addition to the reporting mentioned above, a source also told Deadline:
“The new direction of the investigation is now based on the premise that Mr. Smollett was an active participant in the incident.”
And per The Hollywood Reporter, Chicago Police Department chief communications officer Anthony Guglielmi seemed to address the reports Saturday evening, explaining 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.”
As of this writing, representatives for the actor, Empire, and FOX have yet to address the latest developments.
[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.]