The alleged attack on actor Jussie Smollett might have been fabricated by the television star and two other men, reported CBS 2 News in Chicago.
According to reports, two brothers have been detained and are being called “persons of interest” in the situation. The men’s lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, stated that her clients have acted as extras in Smollett’s show Empire, as well as occasionally worked out at the gym with him. They are now actively being questioned in the alleged attack. Chicago police have called the reports of a hoax “unconfirmed.”
“They’re really baffled why they are people of interest,” said Schmidt. “They really don’t understand how they got information that linked them to this horrific crime.”
The brothers were taken into custody at Chicago O’Hare Airport Customs upon returning from a trip to Nigeria. The two men reportedly left on the day of the attack. Among the items seized during a police raid were a black facemask, an Empire script, a phone, receipts, a red hat and bleach.
According to the original story, Smollett claims to have been approached by two men who were antagonizing him with racial and homophobic slurs. They then allegedly poured a chemical on his skin, beat him and placed a rope around his neck. During an interview following the attack, Smollett, who is gay, said, “”I see the attacker masked and he said, ‘This MAGA country (bleep).’ Punches me right in the face. So I punched his (bleep) back. So we started tussling. … There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back.”
When police arrived, Smollett said that he had kept the rope around his neck, wanting to show them exactly what happened.
“I wanted them to see what this was,” said the actor.
Schmidt argues that police are just looking to find someone to pin the blame on.
“They feel the pinch to make an arrest. It’s an awful thing what happened to Jussie, but it’s not my guys.”
She maintains that the alleged attack was not a hoax and that the men responsible are still on the loose.
Internet users have quickly called attention to the allegations, labeling it as a way to further push the narrative that Trump supporters are ‘violent’ and ‘racist.’
The weight of evidence supports what we’ve suspected all along: This is a hate hoax. #jessesmollett should be arrested for filing a false police report & sued. In this era of disinfo, these hoaxes and their media enablers must be held accountable. https://t.co/q3Aws5GmP1
— Jeff Giesea🌿 (@jeffgiesea) February 11, 2019
Smollett denied claims that the attack was created as a PR play in the public eye.
“I’ve never been some media whore,” Smollett said. “That’s not who I am. I don’t look for that type of attention.”
— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) February 14, 2019
Law Enforcement Today will continue to update this story as information becomes available.
UPDATE: 1:30pm Friday
Police have confirmed that the two men have been arrested in conjunction with the case and referred to the suspects as having a “relationship” with Smollett.
“Police can detain the potential suspects for an additional 24 hours past the 48 hour holding period under special circumstances, but it must go through the prosecutors office and has to be clear process,” police said. “Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues.”