Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men, brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundair to orchestrate the assault he initially said was a racist, homophobic attack.
Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault.
The brothers, who were arrested Wednesday, were released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.” The sources told CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.
Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
The sources told CNN that there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago.
Smollett gave his first detailed account of what he says was a hate crime against him, and the aftermath, in an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Thursday. During the interview he expressed frustration at not being believed.
“It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more,” Smollett said. “And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.”
CNN’s attempts to reach both Smollett’s representative and attorney Saturday were unsuccessful.
Wow. Story developing…
Update: TMZ spoke to law enforcement sources of their own. One law enforcement source tells TMZ at least one of the brothers turned over his phone and there is a call between him and Jussie in the vicinity of the “attack,” but before it happened.
Update #2: Jussie’s attorneys has released a statement denying all claims he orchestrated his own attack.
New statement from Jussie Smollett’s attorneys “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.” pic.twitter.com/6YaB6WSJN7
— Joshua Hoyos (@JoshuaHoyos) February 17, 2019
Update #3: Jussie Smollett and the two brothers he is accused of paying $3,500 to attack him allegedly rehearsed the assault beforehand, a new report claims.
The brothers, who are cooperating with police investigating the alleged hoax attack on January 29, reportedly told detectives that the 2am attack was supposed to happen earlier and that they did a practice run beforehand, according to CBS Chicago.
Sources said one of the brothers put a rope around Jussie’s neck and poured bleach over him while the other wore a red hat and yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him.