Cape Town - Actor Jussie Smollett is reportedly being cut from the production of the drama series Empire seen on FOX (DStv 125) as an investigation continues into his physical attack and growing doubts around it.
On Monday, CBS Chicago reported that law enforcement officials had reason to believe that Smollett concocted the attack on himself because he was upset that a threatening letter he received the week before the attack did not get a "bigger reaction". According to a police statement after the incident, the actor said he was battered "about the face", had bleach poured on him and had a rope wrapped around his neck.
- Police say the investigation has "shifted" after detectives question the two brothers about the attack and release them without charges.
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As we reported, police "urgently" want a follow-up interview with Jussie ... this comes after Ola and Abel Osundairo told police they staged the so-called attack at Jussie's behest and even got paid for doing so.
Guglielimi declines to address reports that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case, saying: "We're not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we've gotten". "First of all, he pled no contest in that DUI charge and giving the false name".
According to the Associated Press Smollett had a misdemeanour complaint filed against him in California in 2007 when he was pulled over by a police officer on the suspicion of driving under the influence.
February 18 - Smollett, upset after a racist letter sent to the show's studio didn't get a "bigger reaction", is suspected of paying two men to attack him a week later, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.
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On Jan. 30, Chicago police said they had reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none shows the attack.
Smollett's family issued a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime.
Police have said their investigation has shifted in light of new information.
Last week, two Chicago brothers, held as suspects, were interrogated and released.
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What was especially weird was that one of the brothers had actually worked on Empire with Smollett as an extra. "He has been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack". Smollett could be looking at up to three years behind bars if found guilty of filing a false police report on what authorities initially called a "potential hate crime". "Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying". The incident included racist and homophobic slurs by Smollett, police said.