(Chicago, IL-AP) — Police are attempting to unravel the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett. The saga began in January, when Smollet told police he received a racist and threatening letter that obtained a white powder. That “substance” was later determined to be aspirin. Then about a week later, the actor, who is black and gay, claimed he was assaulted by two white men in masks, wearing pro-President Trump hats who hurled racist and homophobic slurs. Smollett also claimed his attackers attached a small noose around his neck. The alleged attack became an international news event, with plenty of high-profile celebrities, politicians, and even President Trump expressing outrage. Chicago Police, the FBI, and other agencies launched a massive investigation.
About 48 hours later, police said they reviewed hundreds of hours of video footage, but were unable to find any direct evidence dealing with the attack. They also said Smollett turned over some, but not all, of the phone records detectives requested as part of their investigation. Smollett continued to say the attack was real, telling ABC’s Good Morning America that people would believe him if he was “attacked by black or Muslim guys.” On February 13th, Chicago police picked up two men at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport they identify as Nigerian brothers who are persons of interest. The next day, there were news reports that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack. Police denied those reports.
On February 15th, things took a major turn. Police said the “trajectory of the investigation” has “shifted” after cops released the two brothers without charges. Police wanted to re-interview Smollet, but the actor refused. Police seemed to ramp-up their investigation and unconfirmed reports starting swirling that Smollett would soon be arrested. Then this morning, Smollett was charged with filing a false police report. A very somber Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is also black, said Smollett staged the attack only to increase his salary. Johnson added Chicago didn’t deserve this “publicity stunt” and he was upset Smollett used the dark symbol of a noose. He said Smollett paid the brothers 35-hundred bucks to stage the attack and added that he believes Smollett mailed the original letter to himself.