Jussie Smollet Attack Investigation Takes Major Turn

Raquel Perry, Reporter

On Jan 29th,  “Empire” actor Jussie Smollet was reported to be the victim of an alleged racist and homophobic attack. The actor filed a report to the police last month stating that two masked men brutally beat him as they shouted racial and homophobic slurs. The actor also said that the men what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck. Many fans and celebrities showed their support for Smollet over social media. However, developments over this weekend have “shifted the trajectory of the investigation.” police say.

On Monday, sources reported that two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who were interrogated by police as suspects, told officers that the attack was not only fake but rehearsed. They claim that Smollet allegedly paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the crime.

Multiple sources also confronted to CBS that Smollet got upset when a disturbing letter addressed him, which included letters cut from magazines to create racial and homophobic threats toward the actor, a stick figure drawing of a man hanging from a tree with a gun shooting at him, and a white substance, which was later identified as crushed aspirin, did not get “a bigger reaction”. When detectives searched the Osundairo brothers’ house, they found a “piece of paper/writing,” a magazine, and a “wallet with stamps.”

“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump,” the brothers said in a statement. “We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”

Many reports indicated that it was the heavily-redacted phone records in which they felt something wasn’t off. Smollett had turned in his phone records to provide evidence of the attack but had removed a number of calls prior to handing them over.

Chicago Police said on Tuesday that the records he provided for the investigation into his alleged attack were “limited and redacted” and “insufficient for a criminal investigation,” and that they needed something “more concrete.”

Chris Bastardi, a spokesperson for Smollett, explained however that the redacted records were “intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”

Smollett told police at the time of the attack that he was on the phone with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore, who told police that he heard the racist and homophobic slurs. Police need the phone records to confirm if that actually occurred.

“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,” a statement from Smollett’s lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said. “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.”

Until evidence proves otherwise, police have stated that Smollett is still considered to be a victim, since thus far, the actor has cooperated with authorities. Detectives have now shifted the investigation towards determining whether Smollett made up the entire story, sources said.