Lawyers for Jussie Smollett released a statement late Saturday explaining the star actor is "angered and devastated" by new reports that allege Smollett colluded with two Nigerian brothers to orchestrate a homophobic and racist attack against him.
What did the lawyers say?
They said in a statement:
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. 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.
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.
Jussie and his attorney's anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At present time, Jussie and his attorney's have no inclination to respond to '"unnamed" sources inside the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.
What are the details?
After weeks of intense investigative work, the case took a turn last Wednesday when Chicago police apprehended two Nigerian brothers who worked as extras in the same TV show that Smollett stars in. Those brothers — Olabinjo Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola Osundairo, 25 — were released Friday night when new evidence surfaced, shifting the trajectory of the investigation.
Reports now indicate that the brothers, who are fully cooperating with detectives, admitted Smollett hired them to orchestrate the attack. The admission reportedly came after investigators confronted them with evidence proving they bought the rope found around Smollett's neck after the attack.
According to WBBM-TV, not only did the Osundairo brothers purchase the rope at Smollett's request, but Smollett also paid for it. The brothers were allegedly paid $3,500 each for the hoax attack before leaving for Nigeria later on the afternoon of Jan. 29, the same day Smollett says he was attacked.
The brothers were reportedly promised another $500 each upon their return to the U.S.
More from WBBM-TV:
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett.
The sources say the red hat was bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.
Meanwhile, Fox News' Mike Tobin reported Saturday, citing a Chicago Police spokesman, that Smollett is no longer considered a "victim" in the case. That's a dramatic shift after police, upon releasing the Osundairo brothers without charges late Friday, maintained that Smollett is a victim.