Published Feb 18, 2019The alleged hate crimes committed against Empire actor and singer Jussie Smollett will not go away. In fact, over the weekend, the ongoing case has taken a number of shocking twists and turns. Now, reports indicate that Smollett is being investigated for allegedly orchestrating the attacks himself.
On Friday (February 15), brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo were arrested for their alleged involvement in the attack. After being held for 48 hours, they were released without being charged. According to sources from the Chicago Police Department, as reported to CNN, questioning the brothers has shifted the entire case.
Sources told TMZ that Smollett had agreed to sign complaints against the two men that attacked him, but when he learned it was the Osundairo brothers, he decided not to. Both brothers have appeared on Empire as extras, and one of them is Smollett's personal trainer.
That said, despite their familiarity with Smollett, police have linked the brothers to the alleged attack. They say records show the brothers purchased the rope that was tied in a noose and placed around Smollett's neck at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in Ravenswood, IL.
According to CBS, the brothers reportedly purchased red hats at a beauty supply store. Sources also told CBS that the men were allegedly paid $3,500 USD to stage the attack. They then fled to Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return.
According to TMZ, when police raided the two brothers' home, they also found magazines with pages torn out. They're now trying to determine whether or not the missing pages coincide with a threatening, homophobic letter that Smollett received days earlier.
Police sources also reportedly told TMZ that they were suspicious of Smollett's story from the beginning. When the actor took them to the area where he was attacked, Smollett allegedly pointed at an obscure security camera and said he was happy the attack was caught on tape. Police reportedly thought it was suspicious that Smollett knew the location of the security camera.
TMZ reports that the case is expected to go before a grand jury this week.
Smollett has retained a number of lawyers over the weekend. His current representatives, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, vehemently deny that he was involved in the attacks in any way.
"Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," Smollett's lawyers said in a statement.
"He has now been further victimised 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."
Because one of the brothers is Smollett's personal trainer, the lawyers added that it's "impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity."
Last week, Smollett appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the attack. Watch footage of that appearance below.