Law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate his assault.
Two brothers were arrested Wednesday and released without charges after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.” Sources told CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement and 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 on Thursday. In the interview he expressed his 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. And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.“
Comedian Dave Chappelle joked about Smollett in a show on Friday and said that he had planned the attack in order to remain on Empire.
UPDATE: Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued a statement to CNN Saturday night saying Smollett was angry about these latest developments,
“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. 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. 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.”
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.“
(Photo, Youtube, ABC News; via CNN)