Did Jussie Smollett Lie About Attack? Read His Lawyers’ Statement

Jussie Smollett at TrevorLIVE Gala.
Jussie Smollett | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

According to reports Saturday evening, the hate crime on Empire star Jussie Smollett was believed to have been orchestrated by the actor himself. Did Jussie Smollett lie about the attack?

New evidence points to Jussie Smollett’s involvement in the attack

CNN reported that, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation, it’s believed that Smollett paid two men to assault him. The two Nigerian brothers arrested in connection with the attack are no longer suspects and were released without charges, with Chicago police citing “new evidence” as the reason.

Smollett had alerted authorities of his attack on January 29 near the lower entrance of a Loews hotel in Chicago. He claimed that two men were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” and one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance on him.

The new evidence that changed everything

The brothers are now cooperating with police, telling investigators that they were paid by the Empire star and that they had purchased the rope at a nearby hardware store, according to a source. CBS News reports: “The source said detectives have evidence to corroborate the sale,” with the brothers’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt noting: “New evidence that was brought to their attention, obviously I had it, my clients had it.”

CBS Chicago further reports that, according to sources, the men were paid $3,500 to stage the attack and “the brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.”

The Chicago Police Department released the following 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.”

Jussie Smollett’s attorneys issue a statement

Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, released a statement in response, which noted the actor didn’t play a “role in his own attack” and that he was “angered and devastated” about the recent developments.

The full statement read:

“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.

One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.

Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. 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.”