A disturbing new twist in the Jussie Smollett story arrived on Saturday, when CNN reported two sources inside Chicago law enforcement claiming the Empire actor had played a role in his alleged assault. Now Smollett’s lawyers are denying the allegations, saying, “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
The statement, written by defense lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, was obtained by Deadline. “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.”
It also reveals that one of the alleged perpetrators is Smollett’s personal trainer. Among the new allegations leaked to the press is that the two men who assaulted the actor, while shouting racial and homophobic epithets, may have been brothers hired to attack him. Another claim is that the men purchased the noose from a local hardware store that was found around his neck when police arrived to investigate the alleged incident.
Late Saturday, Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told reporters that “we can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation.” Guglielmi added, “we’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
You can read Smollett’s attorney’s full statement on Deadline. We may not know what to make of this latest twist, but one thing’s for certain: Terry Crews sums it all up pretty well.