‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett paid 2 men $3,500 to assault him: Sources

The two men accused of attacking Jussie Smollett, 36, near the lower entrance of a Loews hotel in Chicago on January 29, 2019 were released without charges two days after their arrest. The authorities reportedly believe that the actor known for his role as Jamal Lyon in the Fox musical drama series “Empire” orchestrated the assault.

Chicago Police Department chief communications officer Anthony Guglielmi told USA Today that they were searching for the two men who attacked Smollett while he was going out to get food after returning home from New York. The assailants allegedly yelled out racial and homophobic slurs towards the “Empire” actor and physically attacked him.

According to Guglielmi, Smollett told detectives that the assailants also wrapped a rope around his neck after punching him in the face and pouring a chemical on him. The “Empire” actor went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to receive treatment.

Two brothers were accused of perpetrating the assault and were arrested on February 13, 2019 upon arrival on a return flight from Nigeria. But Chicago Police discovered a new evidence proving that Smollett the two men to orchestrate the assault on him so the suspects were released without charges on February 15, 2019.

Two sources told CNN that the two brothers are fully cooperating with law enforcement and there are records showing that they bought the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago. The sources are law enforcement officials who have knowledge of the investigation.

The two brothers reportedly told Chicago Police that Smollett paid them $3,500 for the orchestrated assault, which they say they had rehearsed. An additional $5000 was supposed to be given to them, the brothers allegedly claimed.

Smollett was infuriated by the latest developments of the investigation, according to his lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson. In a statement obtained by the publication, the lawyers said, “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,” the lawyers said of Smollett. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Even before the new discovery of Chicago Police, some people did not believe that Smollett was really attacked, which angered the actor. His first interview since the said attack was with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”

“I’m pissed off,” Smollett told Roberts. “It’s the attackers but it’s also the attacks. You know, at first it was a thing of, ‘If I tell the truth, that’s it because it’s the truth.’ Then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, how can you doubt that? How do you not believe that? It’s the truth.’ And then it became a thing of, ‘Oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth. You don’t even want to see the truth.'”

Meanwhile, “Empire” Season 5 is set to return on March 13, 2019. Here is a clip from the Fox show:

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