Just hours after Jussie Smollett bonded out of jail, sources told E! News that the actor returned to the set of “Empire,” despite allegations that Smollett staged the alleged racist and homophobic attack over his show salary.
Although Smollett has maintained his innocence in the entire ordeal – outside of an alleged drug problem, he informed police about – newly released evidence seems to prove otherwise.
In new docs obtained by TMZ, prosecutors detail the evidence that helped transform the case from an investigation into a hate crime to an investigation of a hoax. In addition to the surveillance footage that showed the Nigerian brothers purchasing ski masks and red hats as explained in the initial report, prosecutors say there are texts, in which Jussie says, “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face” about five days ahead of the attack. Read full story after the jump
However, it all started with the letter, which prosecutors say contained an “unknown white powdery substance” that turned out to be crushed Ibuprofen. The letter, which was addressed to Smollett and sent to the Chicago “Empire” studio with homophobic and racial slurs, was sent on the 22nd. Three days later, Smollett sent the text.
According to police, Smollett had been friends with Abel Osundairo, who he texted on January 25th, since fall of 2017, as he sometimes bought ecstasy off him. But this time, the exchange was a bit different.
Prosecutors say Smollett met with Abel later on that day outside the brother’s Chicago apartment and discussed the attack plan inside Jussie’s car, bringing in Abel’s brother, Ola. He then gave the brothers a
$100 bill to purchase the items for the attack, including the masks and rope. Two days later, the three men met again to scout locations, and Smollett pointed out the surveillance camera near his building, which he believed would record the staged incident.
He then paid the brothers via check, backdating the payment to Jan. 23 and noting it as a check for training. The following day, the men bought the items and Abel deposited the cash.
The incident occurred on January 29th around 2am, but less than two hours before, officials say there was a three-minute call between the actor and Abel, in which Smollett set the 2 a.m. time slot for the attack. In fact, sources tell the publication that officials even have surveillance footage of the brothers sitting on a bench in the area, waiting on the actor to show up.
After the incident, the brothers boarded a flight to Nigeria, but according to police, Smollett spoke to Abel the next day. Apparently, the two carried on a conversation for 8 minutes and 48 seconds, while Abel was in Turkey. To make matters worse, police say Smollett said the attackers were white, as he “could see that the area around this person’s eyes was white-skinned.”
In the meantime, the actor is begging his “Empire” castmates and production crew to believe him, despite the new developments.
“I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls,” Smollett said, addressing the entire cast and crew. “I wanted to say I’m sorry and you know me I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God I did not do this.”