Actor Jussie Smollett reportedly received a threatening letter a week before he was the alleged victim of a possible hate crime that has come under scrutiny as multiple reports have indicated that attack may have been orchestrated.
According to CBS News, multiple sources said that Smollett was sent a hateful, threatening, and racist letter to the studio where “Empire” is filmed, and was dissatisfied by the response.
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” an unidentified source told the news outlet. The claim was reportedly corroborated by additional sources.
Smollett reportedly received the letter, photographed in the CBS News story, on January 22, a week before he was allegedly assaulted by two people who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him and tied a rope around his neck. According to the report, the letter included racial and homophobic slurs and a death threat, in letters appearing to be cut and pasted from a magazine or magazines.
CBS News also reports that investigators retrieved a magazine from the home of two brothers who were arrested and released last week in connection to the alleged attack, and who are reportedly cooperating with police. As CrimeOnline reported, a lawyer for the actor denied that Smollett was previously acquainted with the alleged assailants, following numerous reports that claimed Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 to help orchestrate the attack, promising an additional $500 after they returned to the United States from a trip to Nigeria. The brothers were reportedly apprehended at the airport upon their return to Chicago last week.
“In due course all the facts will reveal themselves, and at the end of the day, my clients are honest and credible,” Gloria Schmidt, an attorney for the brothers, told CBS News.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, sources have said that Smollett is believed to have paid for the rope that was used in the alleged assault, though authorities have not publicly commented on Smollett’s possible role in what was initially perceived as a hate crime.
The Chicago Police Department gave a statement to CBS News on Monday, which reads in part:
“When this investigation is over, we will have a detailed accounting of the case. While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what’s been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include additional investigation and speaking to the individual who reported the incident.”
Smollett’s laywers said on Monday that he had not yet scheduled a meeting with police for follow-up questioning.
[Feature image: Raymond Hagans/MediaPunch /IPX via AP]