Questions about what exactly happened to Jussie Smollett on a bitterly cold night on January 29 are swirling as CNN reports sources at the Chicago Police Department have evidence suggesting the Empire star may have orchestrated an attack on himself. Smollett has denied the accusations.
Two brothers were arrested in connection with the attack on Wednesday but police released them on Friday, citing new “evidence.” The men are reportedly still cooperating with the investigation.
In the early hours of January 29, Smollett was hospitalized and told authorities he’d been attacked by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said the men had tied a noose around his neck and poured some sort of chemical substance on him, and at one point reportedly shouted “this is MAGA country.” CNN has learned that Chicago Police have evidence the two brothers purchased the rope used for the noose at an Ace Hardware Store.
“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,” Smollett’s lawyers said in a statement. “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.”
Smollett has been an Empire regular since 2015.