News & Politics

Chicago Police on Jussie Smollett Case: 'No Evidence It's a Hoax'

Jussie Smollett (by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx via AP)

On Friday, Chicago Police announced that they had arrested two suspects in the alleged assault on Empire star Jussie Smollett. Both are Nigerians, and one appeared on Empire in the past. Police had questioned them earlier this week. While police told PJ Media they have yet to find any video documenting the alleged attack, they insisted there is no evidence it is a hoax.

“Interrogations will resume today with the two individuals and their attorney. While we haven’t found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax,” Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer at the Chicago Police Department, told PJ Media.

“The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect,” he added. Smollett claimed that on January 29, masked white attackers wearing MAGA hats had screamed “This is MAGA country!” before seizing him, putting a noose around his neck, and pouring an unknown bleach-smelling liquid on him.

Smollett turned over redacted phone records to police, and Guglielmi said those records “do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted,” ABC7 Chicago reported. Even so, it appears police have not discovered conclusive evidence that Smollett was lying.

This week, The New York Post discovered a suspicious hot sauce bottle with bleach-smelling liquid that may have been planted at the scene to corroborate Smollett’s story, which might be a hoax.

On Wednesday, CPD confirmed to PJ Media that even though the hot sauce bottle was not found at the scene during the initial police canvases and the video footage did not capture the attack, they still consider Smollett a victim.

As for the men arrested, Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo and his brother Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo are Nigerian bodybuilders and aspiring actors On February 1, Abel Osundairo posted a video to Instagram showing him in Nigeria. In January 2019, Abel posted a video to Instagram using Smollett’s song “Ha Ha (I Love You)” as a backing track. Ola Osundairo appeared in Empire playing Chris Rock’s bodyguard.

“For clarification, the two individuals interviewed are classified as potential suspects,” Chicago Police told PJ Media. “Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues.”

Police arrested the Osundairos on Wednesday. “No charges have been issued,” Guglielmi told PJ Media.

It seems increasingly likely the Jussie Smollett story — MAGA hat-wearing whites assaulting a black gay actor — is a hoax. If these Nigerian suspects carried out the alleged attack, that does not fit Smollett’s narrative. If they conspired with Smollett to fabricate the story, that’s even worse.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.