The claim was horrifying. But from the beginning, some believed that aspects of the alleged Jan. 29 hate crime against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett didn’t quite add up.
As days passed, information continued to be revealed that raised questions regarding whether the attack really happened or not.
If his claims are false and the whole thing was indeed a hoax, the actor may face time behind bars, as the Daily Mail reported.
“Filing a false report to police in the State of Illinois is considered an act of disorderly conduct, which is a Class 4 felony,” the outlet noted.
“That means that anyone found guilty could face between one and three years in prison.”
WBBM reported Saturday night, citing anonymous sources familiar with the investigation, that the two brothers who were questioned by police in connection with the incident may have rehearsed the attack with Smollett days prior.
The brothers “were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return,” WBBM wrote, citing those anonymous sources.
The sources also claimed Smollett asked one of the brothers to buy the rope used in the attack and even paid for it himself. The rope reportedly came from a hardware store in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago.
“Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett,” WBBM reported. “The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29.”
Police now want to interview Smollett again regarding the alleged attack. Smollett, meanwhile, put out a statement through his attorneys denying that the incident was a hoax.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video,” the statement continued. “It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.”
“Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels,” the statement concluded, according to the Daily Mail.
It’s worth remembering that the moment news broke about an alleged hate crime carried out against Smollett, celebrities and politicians on the left jumped on the bandwagon and treated the entire thing as fact.
Got this by text and it’s fantastic… Jussie Smollett and this cast of clowns… just beautiful. pic.twitter.com/t57VmcKANi
— AnnaZ (@AnnaZ) February 17, 2019
Attacking someone because of their race or sexuality is horrible. But the same could be said about creating a hoax that blames political opponents.
While it’s not proven that this is what happened in the Smollett case, there are certainly plenty of questions that still need answering.