Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett insists that he was the victim of a setup and claims there are two new witnesses to prove that he did not stage a racist and homophobic attack on himself in Chicago in January of 2019.
In an interview with former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, which was shared on Instagram on Sept. 10, the actor insisted that he was accosted by two white men wearing “Make America Great Again” caps.
Smollett has stood by his account that he was attacked in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29 at around 2 a.m. local time on East North Water Street by two masked men. He claims the men beat him, shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, and looped a rope around his neck. He said his attackers also shouted slogans supporting President Donald Trump.
Following a two-week investigation, Chicago police said they suspected Smollett of orchestrating the attack with the help of twin brothers, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, whom he met when they served as extras on his show.
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.
The two brothers sued Smollett’s attorneys on April 23, accusing them of defamation by continuing to insist publicly that the brothers carried out a real, bigoted attack on Smollett despite knowing that wasn’t true.
Smollett was later indicted by a Chicago grand jury for 16 counts for allegedly lying to police about the events but the charges were later dropped in return for several hours of community service and $10,000.
Speaking of his high-profile case, Smollett said, “It’s been frustrating to say the least … its been beyond frustrating.” “There is an example being made, and the sad part is that there’s is an example being made of someone who did not do what they’re being accused of.”
“There’s also two other witnesses that saw a white man … saw exactly what I say that I saw, saw someone with a rope hanging from their side. 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. Then, the second that something came out corroborated everything that I said, all of a sudden it was not even a whisper.”
The actor also claimed there was a videotape showing “what I see,” but that it “cuts off right before it happens.” When asked by host Marc Lamont Hill why the tape cuts off, Smollett said it was up to the public to “investigate” why.
The actor then went on to make a number of claims against police handling his case, telling Hill, “Every detective combined that was on my case have combined over 560 formal accusations against them. The Chicago police department has paid over seven million dollars just for these detectives alone in police misconduct lawsuits. They filed a civil lawsuit against me because [Chicago] Mayor Emanuel, who really has no place at all to talk about anything criminal, he sued for $130,000 and claims its overtime for this investigation that was a farce.”
“Out of all these jokers in this entire situation, I am the only human being who has not changed his story one time in order to fit someone’s agenda,” he added.
“From the very very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.”
“There would be no reason for me to do something like this,” he added. “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. Because at least there would be a place to work back from. This is [expletive], It’s [expletive].”
He also added: “It’s not my job to convince people that I didn’t do this.”