Actor Jussie Smollett is reportedly facing new suspicion surrounding recent claims that he was the target of racist, homophobic attacks.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the “Empire” star said last month that he was attacked by two men outside of a Subway restaurant, beaten and left with a noose around his neck. That claim has opened him up to allegations that he paid the men to orchestrate an attack.
Smollett’s claims of the Chicago, Illinois, attack, came on the heels of a threatening letter he claimed had been addressed to him via the television series’ studio in Chicago.
Two brothers arrested as part of the investigation and later released without charge reportedly told police that the actor also staged that incident, according to two federal officials cited by ABC News.
The sources indicate that the allegation is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. Reports show the letter was sent to a federal crime lab for analysis, though the brothers’ claims had not been verified by authorities as of the latest updates available.
In recent statements, representatives for Smollett have described him as cooperative in the investigation and dismiss claims he helped stage any part of the alleged attacks.
Attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said the actor “is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.”
The attorney statement went on to claim Smollett has been “further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack,” adding that nothing could be “further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
[Featured image: Jussie Smollett, Victoria Will/Invision/AP]