While CDN’s reporting has been steadfast in its skepticism of Empire star Jussie Smollet’s attack allegations, it has taken almost three weeks for most other reporting to catch up, but it’s official now: Chicago police are investigating Smollett as the perpetrator of a hoax.
“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,” Chicago Police Department Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglieimi said in a statement Saturday night. “We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
The statement came after two Nigerian brothers were detained, questioned and released without charges. Apparently, the two admitted to police that Jussie Smollett paid them to stage an assault using the noose.
CNN confirms that the two co-conspirators are cooperating fully with police.
Smollett first claimed that he was attacked by two white men who poured bleach on him while yelling “This is MAGA country.” He said that he fought back, but the men put a noose around his neck. At first, he said he had broken ribs which later turned out to be false. His subway sandwich also escaped the 2-on-1 assault unscathed. Despite the numerous security cameras in the area, not one captured the assault or any other people in the area within 10 minutes of the time Smollett said the attack happened. Smollett also provided doctored phone records to the police that omitted phone calls to his co-conspirators.
Now, Chicago police sources told CNN that they have records showing that the Nigerians purchased the rope used to make the noose. It was clearly not two white guys that attacked Smollett and the “MAGA country” allegation is an obvious lie.
Smollett’s attorneys say that accusations of a hoax continue to victimize Jussie.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
In a statement, his lawyers refused to respond to the Chicago Police Department information.
“At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels,” the statement read.
If convicted of filing a false police report – actually charged as Disorderly Conduct in Illinois (720 ilcs 26-1(a)(4) ) – Smollett would be charged with a Class 4 felony which is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, but almost all class 4 offenders are given suspended sentences and serve no time in jail.