Chicago Police Supt. Says Jussie Smollett ‘Will Be Held Accountable’ if He Made a False Report
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Tuesday that Empire actor Jussie Smollett is still being treated as a victim in the alleged MAGA hate crime attack, but if the investigation reveals that he made a false report, he will be held accountable.
Johnson's comments mark the first time since the controversy erupted last week that a Chicago city official has suggested that the incident could in fact be a hoax.
Additionally, police are "getting their ducks in a row" for possible interrogations, according to Fox News' Matt Finn.
Smollett claims that his attackers made racial and anti-gay comments while using President Trump's "MAGA" slogan during the 2 a.m. assault in frigid (-20 degree windchill) downtown Chicago. So far, no surveillance video has emerged showing the attack.
As PJ Media's Patrick Poole reported last week, the ongoing investigation into the alleged hate crime has raised more questions than answers and the pictures of two shadowy "persons of interest" released by the Chicago Police only added to the controversy.
Chicago-based police blogs Second City Cop and CWB Chicago have reported that the useless pictures were only released to satisfy the city's liberal top officials.
"Our contacts say that the 'persons of interest' happened to wander into a camera frame and seem to have had nothing to do with the event in question - but the bosses want to look like they're doing something to appease [Mayor] Rahm [Emanuel] and the Hollywood money people," Second City Cop reported on January 31.
"The two 'potential persons of interest' seen in surveillance images released by Chicago police last week 'are two bums,'" a source who is familiar with the investigation told CWB Chicago. “Downtown demanded that we put out something, so we issued the photos,” the source said. “They weren’t happy.”
In another new development, another source close to the investigation told CWB that the purported threat letter against Smollett was mailed from Chicago’s southwest suburbs. The letter was sent about eight days before the alleged attack.
The envelope was addressed to Smollett at the Empire production offices in Chicago and had “MAGA” scrawled in the return address space. A white powder in the letter is believed to be Tylenol, according to other media reports. The investigation into the letter’s origins is being quietly conducted by the FBI.
Meanwhile, according to Second City Cop's sources working on the case, Smollett has been "refusing all forms of cooperation," and so is his manager Brandon Z. Moore, who claims he clearly heard racist slurs and “MAGA country” taunts over the phone.
The "persons of interest" are all but unidentifiable and left the area 20 minutes before the "attack," not to mention the anonymous witness who saw a "hillbilly looking" character that not a single camera in a one mile radius has a picture of.
CWB reported that subpoenas for the phone records of Smollett and Moore have been issued. And police have "dismissed" the claims of the woman who reported seeing the “redneck” characters with rope in the area before the purported attack.
Investigators have also been working hard to identify the source of the rope that Smollett says was tied around his neck in a noose during the attack, CWB reports:
The FBI has extensive scientific resources and product samples that frequently allow its technicians to identify the manufacturer of rope and cord evidence.
In a simplified example, technicians could determine that the rope is made by “ABC Rope Company.” Investigators might contact ABC and learn that the particular variety recovered from Smollett is sold as a plain-label product through Walgreens stores. Investigators then ask Walgreens for records of transactions in which the rope was sold. The last step would be to identify the more promising purchases and to review surveillance video and financial records of those transactions.
A source close to the case said Monday that investigators were visiting retail stores, which may indicate that the search for video and transaction records is underway.
Over the weekend, Smollett seemed to be on the mend during his performance at an L.A. nightclub.
After a vigorous performance Saturday night at an LA club, Smollett said that—against his lawyer’s wishes—he wanted to straighten some things out about his story. Contrary to the original TMZ report that Smollett “fractured a rib,” the singer said after performing on Saturday that his rib had only been “bruised.” He also stated that, despite the same TMZ report, he was never hospitalized—merely treated and released. Smollett failed to make those clarifications in an earlier list of clarifications released to TMZ. He then declared himself “the gay Tupac” and performed his encore.