News & Politics

Hoax: Police Think 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Paid Two Men to Attack Him

Hoax: Police Think 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Paid Two Men to Attack Him
(Credit: FS/MediaPunch /IPX)

See below for updates.

On Saturday night, Chicago Police confirmed to PJ Media that the testimonies of two black men arrested in the case of Empire star Jussie Smollett have flipped the story. Rather than considering Smollett the victim of an attack, it appears that police may now see him as the perpetrator of a hoax.

“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,” Chicago Police chief communications officer Anthony Guglielmi told PJ Media. “We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

Two law enforcement sources confirmed to CNN that police are considering the Jussie Smollett case a hoax. Police now think the two men they arrested last week — Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo and his brother Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo — were paid by Smollett to attack him. Chicago Police believe the Empire star orchestrated the assault. A police spokesman told PJ Media the department will release a statement within the hour.

The Osundairo brothers, arrested Wednesday, were released without charges on Friday after police discovered “new evidence.” The men are cooperating with law enforcement.

As late as Friday afternoon, police were considering Smollett a victim rather than the perpetrator of a crime. At that point, however, his story had already started to fall apart.

Smollett claims 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-scented liquid on him.

Smollett turned over redacted phone records to police, but Guglielmi said those records “do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted,” ABC7 Chicago reported.

This week, the New York Post discovered a suspicious hot sauce bottle containing a bleach-scented liquid that may have been planted at the scene to corroborate Smollett’s story.

Sources say the Osundairo brothers bought the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store nearby and red hats at a beauty supply store.

Smollett had just appeared on Good Morning America when police leaked the news about the rope.

On Friday, Smollett hired Michael D. Monico, the lawyer representing President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Smollett denies hiring a defense attorney, but Monico confirmed he had been hired by Smollett.

That should do wonders for Smollett’s credibility…

This news also presents interesting questions for the politicians and activist groups who seized on the Smollett story as evidence of widespread hate and intolerance.

Update 10:40 p.m. EST:

Donald Trump Jr. condemned the media’s credulity on this.

Mark Dice tweeted a montage of credulous media reports.

The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey mocked The Washington Post, predicting that it will report the Smollett news with a “Conservatives pounce” headline.

Update 12:57 a.m. EST: Attorneys representing Smollett released a statement from their client denying he played a role in the attack.

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