Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett insists, in a new Instagram interview with CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, that he was the victim of a “set up” and that he has two new witnesses to prove that he did not stage a racist and homophobic attack on himself in January of last year. He claims that he was, in fact, accosted by two white men wearing “Make America Great Again” caps.
Smollett told Hill, in one of the first interviews he’s given since a special prosecutor re-charged Smollett with several counts of lying to Chicago police in the hours following the alleged attack, that he is the “only human being” involved in the incident “who has not changed his story one time” and says he believes a “narrative” was created to sideline his claims of discrimination and harassment.
“It was set up to make it seem like I was lying about something or everything,” Smollett says.
Smollett famously claims to have been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack that took place in the early hours of January 29, 2019, as the city was in the midst of a “polar vortex” that drove temperatures well below zero. Smollett maintains that two white men jumped him outside of his downtown Chicago apartment, screamed slurs at him, beat him, threw a noose around his neck, doused him with an unidentified liquid he believed to be bleach, and then took off, yelling that “This is MAGA Country,” apparently referring to the city of Chicago.
After a two-week investigation, Chicago police said they suspected Smollett of orchestrating the attack with the help of twin brothers whom he met when they served as extras on his hit show, “Empire.” CPD claimed Smollett had planned the attack with the two men, who then secured all of the necessary items for the incident and carried out the assault with Smollett’s direction.
Smollett was charged with 16 counts of lying to police, charges that were later dropped in a suspicious, sweetheart plea deal made with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, allowing Smollett to escape trial in return for several hours of community service and $10,000. After an extensive investigation, a special prosecutor, who was assigned to review prosecutors’ decision to release Smollett, found that the Cook County State’s Attorney had, indeed, inked a special deal with the actor and revived six counts of the original indictment.
According to TMZ, Smollett, who says he did not play a part in his own alleged attack, has his own theory of how he eventually became the center of the police investigation into the matter.
“Smollett blasts police for focusing on winning the case instead of trying to solve it based on truth, and hints there may be a conspiracy against him because of that,” the outlet says. “As he puts it — law enforcement is willing to throw people under the bus, get people to lie, and switch the narrative based on their agenda.” Smollett does not specify what the Chicago Police Department’s “agenda” was, however, in accusing him of orchestrating a hoax attack. He does allude to a potential financial incentive.
“As for the lack of video evidence of Jussie being attacked … he claims it’s out there,” TMZ adds. “He also says there are 2 witnesses who can corroborate his story of seeing 2 white men — one of them carrying a rope — before he was attacked.”
“These are the things that people don’t necessarily know because the lies and the things that were not true were yelled from the rooftop,” Smollett told Hill. “There is a tape. There is something, but of course, it cuts off right before it happens.”
Smollett also claims that the twin brothers whom police believe helped him carry out the assault changed their story under pressure from CPD.
“There would be no reason for me to do something like this,” Smollet said. “There would be no reason for me to do something foolish and I do think that if you look at all of the things that were happening for me, and then for all of the opportunities and all of the money…Whatever, that I have lost at this point, if in fact what they said was true, the smart thing to do would be to admit that. At least there would be a place to work back from. This is bulls**t. It’s bulls**t.”
Smollett, of course, could produce those two new witnesses and demonstrate potential evidence tampering in his new trial, set to take place this summer but postponed because of coronavirus-related restrictions. He did tell Hill that he believes he will have to face his day in court.
“They won’t let this go,” Smollett said. “There is an example being made, and the sad part is that there is an example being made of someone that did not do what they’re being accused of.”
Hill, of course, is a controversial figure in his own right. He was let go from CNN after making anti-Semitic comments in a speech to the United Nations, according to Fox News.