Jussie Smollett wanted attention. A hateful letter with “MAGA” as a return that brought out the HAZMAT team didn’t do it. Sources in the Chicago police tell news outlets he came up with another way to get some attention.
Long story short, he has plenty of that attention now. None of it is likely the kind he wanted.
In a Monday story, WBBM-TV cited sources within the police department who say Smollett, a star on the television drama “Empire,” was upset the letter didn’t get a “bigger reaction.”
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” one source said, according to WBBM.
Much of this information, we can probably assume, came from Ola and Abel Osundairo. They’re the two “Nigerian” brothers linked to Smollett — at least one worked on “Empire” — that WBBM has previously reported carried out the attack.
So it turns out the media got a lot wrong when they first reported the story. And even then, they apparently got the nationality of the brothers wrong.
The home of the two brothers was raided by police last week, which provided some of the first major breaks in the case.
BREAKING:Police raided the home of two persons of interest in Jussie Smollett case last night. Both men are of Nigerian decent and have appeared as extras on the show. Police took bleach, shoes electronics and more.Officers asked family if they knew #Jussiesmollett. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/PDSFtf5jwb
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019
This information is according to family who says home was ransacked. I asked family why they think police picked the two brothers up for questioning and they replied by saying the men left for #Nigeria the day of the attack. @cbschicago
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019
The men were taken into custody at O’Hare Airport upon returning from Nigeria, according to The Associated Press. It quickly became apparent that the brothers presented a serious problem for Smollett’s narrative.
“Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the ‘Empire’ actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25,” WBBM reported.
Those Nigerian Brothers Bought The Jussie Smollett “Noose” Rope, By The Way. https://t.co/snp2TL6v6z
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) February 17, 2019
“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,” the WBBM report continued.
“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. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening. Smollett paid the brothers $3,500.”
The police weren’t exactly forthcoming when it came to the new allegations, although they certainly weren’t denying them, either.
“We are not doing any interviews or making any official statements until we can corroborate some information that was shared with police,” a Chicago Police Department representative told WBBM via text.
“Until we meet with the Empire cast member, we are not able to confirm, deny or comment on any of the information that was released unofficially.
“When this investigation is over, we will have a detailed accounting of the case. While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what’s been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include additional investigation and speaking to the individual who reported the incident.”
Smollett’s lawyers were equally mum, issuing a statement to WBBM that basically said “no comment”:
“We are not going to respond to every new, anonymous accusation or rumor,” the statement said. “Jussie Smollett’s lawyers are in contact with the Chicago Police Department. Jussie will continue to cooperate with the investigation in an appropriate and respectful manner that does not include talking to media at this time.”
Oh, and by the way, the brothers apparently aren’t Nigerian, either.
A WBBM reporter spoke with the brothers via phone on Monday.
Going on the record in a joint statement, they blew apart pretty much every assumption about the attack as it was presented in the media — and parroted by top Democrats — from Day 1.
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump,” the statement said. “We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
There’s not really much to be gleaned from officialdom here or from the lawyers, and leaks as to motive haven’t necessarily been proven or disproven yet. (One possibility, as Variety noted, seemed to be that Smollett’s character was going to be written off the show — although this isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive to the idea that it was all about getting attention.)
As for the hateful letter sent to the “Empire” studio, TMZ reported that it had “MAGA” as a return address and included a white powder inside. A HAZMAT team was called but the powder was later determined to be aspirin. The letter itself included cutout letters that said “You will die black f**.”
It’s unclear whether police believe Smollett was behind the letter, but it’s worth noting the actor declined additional security after the incident.
So, what to make of this?
Again, we don’t know what really happened and won’t know until this goes to a court of law — if it does — or investigtors obtain confessions.
That being said, the media’s narrative on this was that there was absolutely no doubt this attack occurred and that it was a result of hate fomented by Donald Trump. It appears they were dead wrong.
And now, if we’re to believe the two men who blew their whole narrative apart, they couldn’t even get their nationality right, either.
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