News

U.S.

FBI Probing Whether Smollett Sent Threatening Letter to Himself

Jussie Smollett poses on the red carpet before the 47th Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York, June 9, 2016. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The FBI is working with the U.S. Postal Service to determine whether Empire actor Jussie Smollett sent himself a threatening letter in the days before the “hate crime” he is now under investigation for allegedly staging, two federal officials told ABC News Tuesday.

The two Nigerian brothers who told Chicago Police last week that Smollett paid them to stage a racially motivated attack on him have also told the authorities that Smollett sent himself the threatening letter that arrived on the Empire set on January 22, just seven days before they claim they conducted the hoax attack.

The brothers, one of whom worked as an extra on Empire, reportedly claimed that Smollett was motivated to stage the attack after his coworkers’ reaction to the letter did not live up to his expectations.

The letter, which was accompanied by crushed up aspirin, is now being analyzed at an FBI crime lab.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo agreed to cooperate with police last week after they were presented with evidence that they purchased the rope that Smollett claimed was placed around his neck by two attackers who yelled racist and homophobic slurs before shouting “this is MAGA country” as they fled.

Smollett’s attorneys maintain that he was attacked and have denied that he was complicit in staging the assault.

“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,” Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement 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.”

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More