TV star Jussie Smollett is facing serious prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out that he falsified story about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say.
The star claimed he was beaten up on Jan. 29 by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs.
Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett.
The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening. Smollett paid the brothers $3,500.
However, Smollett’s account is now being challenged, with police investigating whether or not he paid two acquaintances, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, to stage the attack.
The two brothers involved in the Jussie Smollett attack told police that Smollett was behind creating a racist letter that was sent to the actor on the set of his show, “Empire,” according to two sources with first-hand knowledge of the investigation.
The note was crafted with letters apparently cut out from magazines to form words. The pieced-together message contained racial and homophobic threats directed at Smollett. A magazine is one of the pieces of evidence retrieved from the brother’s home last week during a search conducted by CPD. Investigators also recovered a book of stamps.
Chicago police say the FBI is handling the investigation surrounding the letter because that’s a federal-level concern.