Jussie Smollett’s lawyers have released a statement pushing back on recent reports that the actor was somehow involved in the racist and homophobic attack against him late last month.
The statement was specifically responding to sources from the Chicago Police Department claiming that the Empire star paid two men to assault him.
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“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,” Smollett’s lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said in the statement.
The statement also says that one of the two brothers arrested on Wednesday, and later released on Friday, was Smollett’s personal trainer.
“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.” it said.
Smollett’s lawyers added that they were still willing to continue cooperating with the Chicago Police, but “have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation.”
These sources told CNN that there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago. The sources said the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement following the discovery of “new evidence.”
The CPD has yet to release a new statement given the most recent reports. Earlier this week they pushed back on rumors and false news reports that claimed the attack on Smollett was staged.
“Media reports [about] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” read statement from the department obtained by ESSENCE.
The statement added that the department has “no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed [Chicago Police Department] sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
We’ll continue to follow the story.