×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case.

Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have reported that the brothers admitted to police that Smollett paid them to carry out the attack. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi issued a statement earlier Saturday saying that the new evidence “shifted the trajectory of the investigation.”

Smollett’s attorneys denied that he was involved, saying “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Smollett told police on Jan. 29 that two men had attacked him, poured bleach on him, put a rope around his neck, and used racial and homophobic slurs. Police scoured hundreds of hours of surveillance video in search of clues in the case, eventually tracking down the two brothers on Wednesday night.

In the statement, Smollett’s attorneys say that one of the men is Smollett’s personal trainer.

“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,” said the attorneys, Victor P. Henderson and Todd S. Pugh.

The lawyers said that Smollett is “the victim of a hate crime,” and will continue to cooperate with investigators.

“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack,” the attorneys said.

The full 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 attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. 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.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • "The Positive Negative Reaction" -- Bernadette

    'The Big Bang Theory' to Stream Exclusively on HBO Max

    Bazinga! HBO Max has prevailed in the auction for streaming rights to “The Big Bang Theory,” one of the last major comedy franchises that has yet to be licensed for the binge-watching era. WarnerMedia’s nascent streaming platform will have exclusive rights to 12 seasons of the show from Warner Bros. Television and co-creators/executive producers Chuck [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Orders Supernatural Thriller Series 'Equinox' Based on Danish Podcast

    Netflix has ordered “Equinox,” a six-part Danish supernatural thriller series based on a well-known podcast, “Equinox 1985.” The show, which will be created by Tea Lindeburg (“Kødkataloget”), is set to start shooting later this year. It will be executive produced by Piv Bernth (“The Killing”) at Apple Tree Productions, which is backed by ITV Studios. [...]

  • David Goodman

    WGA West's David Goodman on Agency Strategy: 'We'll Start Meeting as Soon as Possible'

    David Goodman, who was resoundingly re-elected president of the Writers Guild of America West on Monday, said the guild plans to meet with several talent agencies soon in an effort to ease the impasse over packaging fees and affiliated production. “Many agencies had indicated that they wanted to wait to see the results of the [...]

  • THE TITAN GAMES -- "The Titan

    'Titan Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

    NBC has renewed the Dwayne Johnson-hosted competition series “The Titan Games” for a second season. The series features men and women battling opponents in head-to-head physical challenges designed by Johnson. Winners advance to Mt. Olympus, a test of speed, strength, agility and endurance. “When we launched ‘The Titan Games,’ we set out to create an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content