Sen. Kamala Harris was caught off guard when asked about a tweet she sent out in the rush to judgment about the Jussie Smollett situation. On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, the 2020 Dem hopeful seemed to have forgotten that she compared the increasingly discredit “attack” to a “modern day lynching, stammering to come up with an answer about whether she stands by those comments now that the incident has been all but proven to be a hoax.
An insider tells CBS 2 Chicago that Jussie Smollett staged his attack after a racist letter containing white powder sent to the “Empire” offices didn’t cause more public uproar. Police are now investigating whether those letters were sent by the brothers, where paper and stamps were collected as part of the raid on their apartment.
MEANWHILE — the public backlash against Smollett is building. Cardi B says he’s ruined Black History Month and that while she’s not convinced he’s lying, he “really [effed] up.” And The Reverend Al Sharpton said on his MSNBC show that Smollett should be held accountable if it’s found he did stage the attack: “they ought to face accountability to the maximum.”
THERE’S MORE — Smollett appeared in a reading of the play “Take Me Out” just hours before the alleged attack. In that story, a biracial baseball player comes out and is called all kinds of names — the same ones Smollett accused his alleged accusers of making toward him. The flight he was supposed to take from New York to Chicago was delayed, so sources say he used his Instagram to alert the alleged accomplices that he was running behind.
Democrat politicians eager to pin the assault of an African American gay actor on supporters of President Trump rushed to judgement. Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris—both running for president—and Reps. Maxine Water, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex all have egg on their face as evidence builds that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett made it all up. Harris and Booker bemoaned the incident as a “modern-day lynching,” and AOC unquestioningly rushed to declare it “a racist and homophobic attack.” >> More in Cell Block.
Call it Fake Noose:
CBS Chicago reports that the men in the alleged Jussie Smollett attack received $3,500 to not only carry it out but rehearse it with the actor, who promised to pay them an additional $500 after returning from Nigeria. In more details of the attack, one held the rope around Smollett’s neck and poured bleach while the other shouted racial epithets while wearing a plain red hat.
A grand jury will hear the case against Jussie Smollett in Chicago this week, TMZ reports.
Sources say the prosecutors will focus on a few sketchy points:
- That Smollet refused to sign complaints against the two Nigerians in custody after finding out he knew them, because he said he felt bad for them.
- That he oddly knew where an obscure camera was located near the attack, only to find out the camera was pointing in the other direction.
- That bleach freezes at 18 degrees and would not physically be able to pour when temps dipped to -9°, as they did on the night of the alleged attack.
Investigators also found torn out magazine pages in the Nigerian suspects’ home during a raid last week, and are checking into whether they match cutout letters used to send threatening letters to Smollet eight days before the attack.
MEANWHILE — The Chicago PD isn’t so forthcoming. In response to inquiries about Smollett’s status as victim or suspect, PR flack says, “We have some information that needs to be corroborated and verified with the Empire cast member before we can answer this question. After new developments, we’ve reached out to his attorney and requested additional time to interview him.”
AND THE ATTORNEYS SAY — Smollett is “angered and devastated” that the Nigerians say they’re connected to him.
Investigators believe the attack on Jussie Smollett was “staged.” Two persons of interest—believed to be the two seen on grainy surveillance footage the night of the attack—are friends of the actor and were in on the whole thing. The men—who are from Nigeria—are rumored to have had small roles on the show “Empire” alongside, Jussie.
While the men were being questioned, authorities searched their apartment. They took bleach, shoes, electronics, receipts and other items from the home. One eyewitness said they saw a red—potentially MAGA—hat seized from the apartment, as well.
Jussie was questioned by police again on Thursday. There have been conflicting reports on whether the facts of his story have been consistent during the investigation.
Neighbors of Jussie Smollett are skeptical about the racist and homophobic attack on the “Empire” star.
Agin Muhammad, who lives in the same swank high-rise as Jussie, said “I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did. I’ve been in this neighborhood five years. I don’t believe it, not around here…Half the people are gay and the other half are black.”
Another man, who refused to give his name, told the New York Post that “It’s a lie, because Chicago is the most liberal city around. They have cameras everywhere…Why can’t they find the attack?”
While police have combed through hours of surveillance footage, the incident was not seen on any of it.
It has been two weeks since the assault and no one has been arrested.
Jussie Smollett is back to work in Chicago after his weekend in Los Angeles. The actor shot scenes for one of the final episodes of “Empire” on Monday and did a table read with the cast the following day. Security was reportedly present the entire time.
Law enforcement officials are hoping to talk to the 35-year-old while he is back in town as part of their ongoing investigation into his attack.
Jussie Smollett turned down extra security a week before his brutal attack. Following the threatening, homophobic letter that was received by Fox Studios in Chicago, addressed to Jussie, security for the “Empire” staff was reportedly beefed up. The 35-year-old chose to decline the extra bodyguards, however, because he felt it was “an intrusive way of living.”
Jussie Smollett has been hospitalized after a vicious attack in Chicago on Tuesday. The “Empire” star was reportedly leaving a Subway in the Windy City when two offenders began yelling racist and homophobic slurs toward him. They then beat Jussie and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. One offender even tied a rope around his neck during the attack.
The actor was able to get himself to Northwestern Hospital and is said to be in stable condition. Law enforcement is looking for any eye witnesses as well as any potential video surveillance of the attack to establish a timeline.
Jussie Smollett donated a ton of cash to charity. The singer-actor, took proceeds from his latest album—“Sum Of My Music”—and paid it forward to Black AIDS Institute, Flint KIDS, South Africa’s SKY Foundation, the Trayvon Martin Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, Know Your Rights Camp, ACLU and the Anthony Burrell Dance School.
Jussie plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hit show, “Empire.”