The narrative around an attack on Jussie Smollett keeps changing. Two law enforcement sources tell reporters that Chicago Police believe he may have paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him, CNN is reporting.
Sources told CBS, meanwhile, that Smollett paid $3,500 to Nigerian bodybuilding brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to orchestrate the attack, and promised another $500 later.
Smollett has hired lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, and is denying any involvement in the attack.
They released a statement late Saturday from Smollett: "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. 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."
On Sunday, TMZ reported that a grand jury will hear the Smollett case next week as police are eager to determine whether Smollett reached out to the pair. The website also reports that police raided the home of the brothers and found magazines with pages torn out, which some suspect may be connected to the threatening anonymous letter (comprised of cut-out letters from a magazine) Smollett received pre-attack.
ARREST AND RELEASE
Two men were arrested Wednesday and then released in connection to an attack on the Empire star, Chicago Police Department reps say. The two men who were arrested are the same duo who police fingered as suspects, police spokespeople told reporters. They were questioned for two days and, citing "new evidence," police opted to release them Friday.
The men were being treated as "potential suspects," reps say, until their release. No explanation of the new evidence was officially released.
Smollett ended up in the hospital on January 29th; but he told police that the attack was committed by two men who screamed "racial and homophobic slurs" at him. Smollett, who is openly gay and African American, also told police that one attacker put a rope around his neck poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
One of the suspects appeared on Empire, police say. There has been much confusion about the attack. On Thursday, Smollett appeared on Good Morning America in a bid to clear up contradictory reports.
Regarding the allegation that attackers were wearing Make America Great Again hats, he said: "I never said that. I didn't need to add anything like that. They called me a f****t, they called me a n****r. There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae."