Empire star Jussie Smollett has furiously denied paying two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to attack him and says he is ‘angered and devastated’ after investigators in Chicago claimed he orchestrated his own assault.
Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, told Entertainment Weekly: ‘As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.
‘He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.’
His lawyers now say that one of men was Smollett’s personal trainer for a music video. They added: ‘One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video.
‘It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.’
The stunning turn of events saw the two men involved in the alleged hoax now fully cooperating with law enforcement, CNN reported Saturday.
On January 29, two men ‘yelled out racial and homophobic slurs’ while attacking Smollett, the actor told police.
One of the assailants tied a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him, Smollett claimed at the time.