Actor Jussie Smollett allegedly concocted an attack on himself because he was angered that a racist letter that was mailed to him in January did not get a "bigger reaction."
"When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack," a source told CBS Chicago, which reported that "other sources corroborated that information."
On January 22, a letter threatening Smollett was received in the mail at the Fox studio where "Empire" is filmed.
"Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CNN that the letter, received on January 22 at Cinespace Studios, where the show is filmed, prompted a response from the HAZMAT unit," CNN reported. "Guglielmi said authorities determined the powder to be aspirin, but declined to give details on the content of the letter."
A report from The Blast states that "the FBI is investigating who sent the letter, regardless of whether or not the threat was legitimate or part an elaborate set-up involving Smollett."
The Blast's sources say that the charge would be "mailing threatening communications," and that "legally, if reports are true and somehow the letter sent is a part of some hoax or setup, whoever is responsible can be arrested."
This latest development comes after CBS News Chicago reported over the weekend that "sources" indicated that "at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request" and "the brothers were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return."
CBS Chicago spoke with the two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — who said in a joint statement: "We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens."
TMZ noted that law enforcement sources were suspicious of Smollett's claims:
The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera.
And, there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, "This is MAGA country," because, "Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.'"
Chicago police have indicated that they want to question Smollett following all the latest developments, but the actor does not appear to be willing to do so.
"Statement from #Smollett crisis team: 'There are no plans for #JussieSmollett to meet w/ Chicago police 2day. Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. Smollett's attorneys will keep an active dialogue going w/ Chicago police on his behalf. We have no further comment,'" Fox 32 Chicago reporter Rafer Weigel tweeted.
"CPD says 'it’s certainly possible' #JussieSmollett case could go to Grand Jury but 'that’s way too premature,'" Weigel added. "May be a last resort if #Smollett doesn’t voluntarily come in for questioning. CPD says #Smollett’s lawyers have given no indication he will despite several requests."
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