Jussie Smollett claims to have evidence that refutes police accusations
Several weeks ago, Empire star Jussie Smollett made headlines after he was allegedly attacked by two white men wearing MAGA baseball caps. Shortly afterwards, however, evidence emerged that the actor may have orchestrated the attack himself - perhaps because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on Empire, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
Since then, discussions about the incident on social media have seen people take opposing sides on the matter: some believe he is innocent, while others are convinced that he had a hand in the incident.
Now, Smollett himself claims that he has evidence that refutes accusations against him - namely that he paid two brothers $3,500 to pose as two Trump supporters. He is now saying that the money he gave to one of the brothers, Abimbola (also known to Smollett as 'Abel' and 'Bon') Osundairo, was actually for a workout programme that he was commissioning to help him get in shape for a new music video he was bringing out.
According to TMZ, the cheque written by Smollett on January 23rd (a week before the attack) said on the memo line: "5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don't Go."
The publication claims that "Sources connected to Jussie tell us, the reference to 'Don't Go' is a song for which Jussie was going to shoot a music video ... featuring himself shirtless. The sources say Jussie had gained weight -- he was 192 lbs and needed to lose 20 pounds for the shoot, and that's why he hired Abel ... whom he says he calls 'Bon.'"
TMZ also notes that there were a number of texts exchanged between Smollett and Osundairo between January 20th and January 28th, all of which appear to corroborate his story that he had been paying him for fitness training. One of the earliest messages from Osundairo includes a nutrition plan for the day, while another text on January 25th says, "This is the meal plan and the breakdown of macronutrients. Also includes projected fat loss."
Just one day before the attack, in fact, Smollett received a message saying, "I know you're traveling today, make sure you get at least 45 mins of cardio."
at New York City Center on November 28, 2018 in New York City." width="850" height="450" /> Credit: Getty
"Sources connected to Jussie say the $3,500 breakdown is as follows -- $600 a week for the workout plan for 5 weeks, and $100 a week for the nutrition plan for 5 weeks," TMZ reports.
The brothers have also reportedly testified before a grand jury that the payment was for training.
Thus far, Smollett has consistently maintained that he had nothing to do with the attack.
"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 star's lawyers said last Saturday. "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."
Smollett has been charged with a filing a false police report, which is a felony, and could face three years in prison if found guilty.