The two brothers at the center of the Jussie Smollett investigation told police that the Empire actor helped create the threatening letter he received at his studio, a week before the alleged attack, according to reports.
Unnamed law enforcement sources told ABC earlier this week that Smollett hired the two men, Ola and Abel Osundairo, as part of the staged attack after the letter that he received on the set of Empire did not get a ‘bigger reaction.’
On January 22, Smollett received an envelope containing a letter and white powder.
The stamped letter was addressed to Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, where the popular Fox drama Empire is filmed.
Chicago police say they have evidence Jussie Smollett (seen above in December) wrote the threatening letter he claimed was sent to the Empire studio where his show is filmed in Chicago on January 22
This is the letter Smollett allegedly received at the Fox studio, a week before the January 29 incident
Brothers Abel (left) and Ola Osundairo (right) were released without charge last week after allegedly telling police Smollett paid them to perform the attack. They reportedly told police that Smollett is the source of the letter
When the white powder was discovered, HAZMAT crews were called to the scene, but the substance was later determined to be crushed aspirin.
The letter was scrawled with the words ‘You will die black f*g’, spelled out in cut and pasted magazine letters, and MAGA which was written in red pen.
Among items taken from the brothers’ home during a raid last week was a magazine but it remains unclear if it is the same one the letters came from.
There was also a stick figure drawing of a man with a gun pointed at his head on the drawing.
Smollett and Empire producer Dennis Hammer both handled it with gloves while opening it before calling the police, leaked police reports into the incident reveal.
Chicago police also seized a book of stamps from one of the homes, according to the TV station.
The FBI and the United States Postal Service are now analyzing it.
Smollett did not post on social media about the letter and it was unknown until after the January 29 attack when a photograph of it appeared on That Grape Juice Net.
During a Good Morning America interview afterwards, Smollett confirmed he had received it, described it to host Robin Roberts then said: ‘Did I make that up too?’
Smollett told police he was attacked as he walked home from a Subway at 2am on January 29
Jussie Smollett is pictured during his Good Morning America interview on Thursday where he described the threatening letter he received a week before being allegedly attacked
As more details of the investigation into the letter emerged on Tuesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case because of her ‘familiarity’ with ‘potential witnesses’.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has recused herself from the Smollett case, it was announced by her office on Tuesday. She said she wanted to step down because of her ‘familiarity with potential witnesses’ but did not say who those witnesses were
It remains unclear who those potential witnesses are that could cloud her impartiality.
‘Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,’ Foxx’s office said in a statement.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats will step in as acting state’s attorney for the Smollett investigation.
Smollett claims he was assaulted while walking home from a local Subway at 2am on January 29.
Smollett alleged that the perpetrators tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted racist and homophobic slurs.
The attackers called him ‘Empire f****t n****r’, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck, he said.
There is no footage of the attack, to Smollett’s despair.
It has also emerged that in 2007, Smollett pleaded no contest to a California misdemeanor complaint.
Court records show he was accused of identifying himself as his younger brother in 2007 when a Los Angeles police officer pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The misdemeanor complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2007 says that Smollett gave the name of his brother, Jake Smollett, when he was asked by an officer. He also signed a false name on the promise to appear in court. Smollett also was later charged with false impersonation, driving under the influence and driving without a valid license.
Court records show Smollett pleaded no contest to the reduced charge of giving false information, in addition to driving under the influence and driving without a valid license counts. The records show he later completed an alcohol education and treatment program and completed the terms of his sentence in May 2008.