Smollett "concocted a story about being attacked", Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said, calling the actor's story "bogus" and describing his conduct as "shameful". An incident that at first was believed to be a hate crime by police has now turned a young actor/singer's life upside down.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett gave detailed instructions to two brothers who helped him stage a racist, anti-gay attack on himself, including giving them specific slurs to yell, telling them to shout "MAGA country" and pointing out a surveillance camera that he thought would record the beating, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Additionally, police shared that the two men who Smollett hired to help him- brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo - were almost processed as suspects before their lawyer stepped in to explain that they had information that would exonerate them of any wrongdoing.
Jussie Smollett's legal team on Thursday criticized the Chicago Police for what the department referred to as the "Empire" actor's "phony attack".
Police also said Smollett was not hurt "other than scratches on his face" and that these injuries "were most likely self-inflicted".
It would be a crime to report such a beating to police as a real attack, as authorities allege Smollett did. We must stand up and condemn this hate, bigotry & violence wherever it rears its ugly head.
The allegations that Smollett orchestrated the attack created outrage among everyone who paid attention to the case.
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"I'm offended by what's happened, and I'm also angry", Johnson said.
It's hard to understand the Jussie Smollett debacle.
"Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense", they added.
The video shows Ola and Abel Osundairo in a store before the January 29 alleged attack buying a red hat and ski masks, WBBM-TV reported.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed on Twitter that the Empire actor was in detectives' custody on Thursday morning. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence of one to three years.
"@JussieSmollett - what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!?" Smollett's case, Harris and Booker said in separate tweets, was an attempted "modern day lynching", while Gillibrand called it "a sickening and outrageous attack".
"There was never a thought in their mind, we would track them down", Johnson said of the brothers.