Sources: New Evidence Suggests Jussie Smollett Planned Assault on Himself

Chicago police reportedly believe the "Empire" actor set up the attack; he strongly denies it.

'Good Morning America' host Robin Roberts interviews 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett on Thursday, February 14, 2019 to discuss the recent alleged attack on him in Chicago. (Photo by Stephen Green/ABC via Getty Images)
'Good Morning America' host Robin Roberts interviews 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett on Thursday, February 14, 2019 to discuss the recent alleged attack on him in Chicago. (Photo by Stephen Green/ABC via Getty Images)
By Reed Richardson / February 17, 2019 10:32 am

According to two anonymous law enforcement sources, CNN reports that the Chicago Police Department now believes Empire cast member Jussie Smollett orchestrated the attempted hate crime attack against himself last month. Based on “new evidence,” the police released the two brothers arrested for the crime on Wednesday without charging them. Smollett, however, denies any involvement in the attack.

These sources told CNN that among this “new evidence” is proof that the two men arrested for the attack had purchased the rope found tied around the actor’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago. But how and why this fact ties back to Smollett’s involvement was not exactly clear. In addition, a police source told CNN one of the two men brought in as suspects had appeared on FOX’s Empire and that both men had a previous affiliation with Smollett, though the nature of this relationship was not clear either.

After news first broke of the alleged hate crime attack three weeks ago, the story quickly went viral. According to Smollett, two white men had accosted him at the entrance of the Loews Hotel in Chicago, called him racist and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown chemical on him and then tied a rope around his neck as if to lynch him. On Wednesday, Smollett appeared on ABC News’ Good Morning America to discuss the assault.

Smollett’s attorneys expressed bafflement at the new claims implicating their client and put out a public statement strongly denying it. “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.”

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