Jussie Smollett Hoax? Lawyers Respond to Allegations that Attack Was Orchestrated by ‘Empire’ Star

Empire star Jussie Smollett is accused of lying about his attack, though his lawyers deny the allegations. As the narrative of the crime started to change, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, the attorneys representing the actor, maintained Smollett was the victim of a purported hate crime.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the official statement released Saturday read. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

The statement continued: “One of these purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity.”

The “trajectory” of the case changed after two men were arrested Wednesday in connection to the assault. “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has, in fact, shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told WBBM-TV. They were released Friday.

Jussie Smollett Hoax? Lawyer Responds to Allegations that Attack Was Orchestrated by ‘Empire’ Star
Jussie Smollett, pictured November 28, 2018 in New York, is accused of lying about his attack, though his lawyers deny the allegations. As the narrative of the crime started to change, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, the attorneys representing the actor, maintained Smollett was the victim of a purported hate crime. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Solely citing anonymous sources, publications like TMZ, CNN and WBBM-TV claimed police insiders said two Nigerian brothers were paid by Smollett to conduct the attack. One of them reportedly purchased a rope that resembled the one slipped around Smollett's neck during the attack.

Amid the recent developments, Smollett and his team are committed to working with investigators. “Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate,” the Saturday statement from his lawyers said. “At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed' sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.”

Earlier in the development of the case, there was rumors that Smollett said his attackers were wearing President Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” hats. Smollett later denied the accusation, claiming he never told investigators his assailants were wearing “MAGA” caps.

He told host Robin Roberts of the misinformation on Thursday: “I never said that. I didn't need to add anything like that. They called me a f*****. They called me a “n*****.” There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae.”