Three weeks after actor Jussie Smollett reported that two white men had allegedly assaulted him and left him hospitalized, lawyers of the actor denied Smollett’s involvement in the attack.
Jussie Smollett, who is black and gay, plays a queer character in the FOX’s Empire. His lawyers released a statement following the rumors that Smollett might have paid money to two Nigerian brothers – Ola and Abel Osundairo – to stage an attack that took place on January 29.
Reportedly, the brothers too, worked at the drama show Empire as extras. They are being questioned by the Chicago police.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi on Saturday said: “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.”
A statement from the actor’s lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said: “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.”
The lawyers further said it was “impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity”, talking about one of the brothers, who is also Smollett’s personal trainer.
After the attack, Ola and Abel had left the country and were immediately arrested upon their return on last Wednesday. However, they were released on Friday, after a few rounds of questioning.
According to the police, the two men purchased the rope used in the attack from nearby hardware store.
In the words of Jussie Smollett, he was attacked by two white men, who racially abused him and also insulted him on over his homosexuality, while punching him and pouring a chemical substance over him. A rope was also tied around his neck.
“This is Maga country,” Smollett was told by the attackers, referring to President Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.