Jussie Smollett Now At Center Of FBI Investigation Over Threatening Letter

Federal authorities are investigating whether "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett sent himself a threatening letter.

Chicago, IL – The Jussie Smollett case took an interesting turn on Tuesday as law enforcement sources confirmed that federal authorities are now investigating the “Empire” star.

Two federal officials have confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Postal Inspector are investigating whether Smollett sent a threatening letter to himself at FOX’s Chicago studio a week before the alleged attack, according to ABC News.

The FBI was already investigating the letter, constructed of glued on letters cut from magazine pages, received by the actor on Jan. 22, the Associated Press reported.

The letter contained a white powder that was determined to be crushed up aspirins, but it generated a HAZMAT response from authorities when it was first received.

WBBM reported that Smollett described the letter he received as “a stick figure hanging from a tree with a gun pointing toward it,” and said the return address read “MAGA.”

Now law enforcement sources have told WBBM that Smollett may have staged the attack on himself because he didn’t think the threatening letter was getting enough attention.

ABC News reported that sources said the letter had been sent to the FBI crime lab for analysis.

Smollett told investigators he was walking home from a Subway restaurant in his Streeterville neighborhood in the early hours of Jan. 29 when he was jumped by two masked men, the Associated Press reported.

He said the men beat him, and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Smollett, 36, told police that the men threw an unknown substance on him and put a noose around his neck before they ran off, according to the Associated Press.

The actor told police that he returned to his own apartment and that his manager called police for him about 40 minutes later, according to Chicago Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

Smollett went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment of the lacerations on his face and neck at the suggestion of police officers.

Police initially investigated the attack as a possible hate crime, Guglielmi said.

Smollett is a well-known and vocal LGBTQ activist in addition to his entertainment career, according to the Associated Press.

However, the narrative began to turn after Chicago police reviewed hundreds of hours of closed-circuit camera footage from city cameras and private security cameras in the heavily-trafficked area searching for video of the incident, and found no evidence of the attack, Billboard reported.

Speculation about the report being false continued to grow after Smollett refused to allow the Chicago police access to his phone to confirm his story that he was attacked while talking to his manager.

His manager told police that he heard Smollett’s attackers say “This is MAGA country” while they were assaulting the actor, NBC News reported.

Thirteen days after the assault, partial, redacted phone records were provided to investigators but police said that what was provided wasn’t enough for their criminal investigation.

On Feb. 13, Smollett went on Good Morning America and told the world he was a victim, and said nobody would be doubting his story if he had claimed his attackers were minorities.

"It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more, and that says a lot about the place we are in our country right now," Smollett said.

The very next morning, Chicago police announced they had identified two persons of interest “through meticulous investigation.”

On Feb. 15, police arrested two Nigerian brothers in Chicago’s O’Hare airport on suspicion that they may have been involved in the crime.

Ola and Abel Osundairo had both been extras on “Empire,” and were friends of Smollett, WBBM reported.

They searched the men’s apartment and found rope matching what was used to create the noose in the attack on Smollett, as well as magazines with missing pages that may have been used to create the threatening letter.

Law enforcement sources said one of the brothers purchased the rope at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in Ravenswood with money provided by Smollett.

The Osundairo brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 for the staged attack, and that the three of them actually rehearsed it ahead of time, WBBM reported.

They were supposed to have been paid another $500 when they returned from Nigeria. They left Chicago on a trip to Nigeria the day after the attack.

“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” the Osundairo brothers said in a joint statement to WBBM on Monday.

Smollett had previously told police he wanted to press charges against his attackers when they were found; however, he changed his tune and refused to sign complaints against the Osundairo brothers, claiming that he felt badly for them.

Official police sources have consistently denied that reports that police were considering it a hoax.

But TMZ reported that the case would be going before a grand jury as early as Tuesday.

TMZ reported that prosecutors will be presenting evidence to the grand jury that could result in a felony indictment against Smollett for filing a false police report.

Law enforcement said that investigators had seen a lot of red flags early in the investigation.

TMZ reported that detectives thought it was strange that Smollett was able to point out cameras near the area where he was attacked.

And the only people of interest captured on any of the cameras along the actor’s route home the night of the attack turned out to be the Osundairo brothers.

Investigators tracked down the brothers by their movements to and from nearby Smollett’s apartment building on the night of the alleged attack, TMZ reported.

Police sources said the men left the scene in a taxi or rideshare car, and then changed cars on the way home.

“It was almost like a bad spy movie,” a police source told TMZ.

Chicago police have said they needed to interview Smollett again, but so far, the actor hasn’t agreed to a sit down.

"While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident," Guglielmi wrote in a post on Twitter.

However, Smollett’s attorneys told NBC News there were no plans for Smollett to meet with police, and that they would be handling that dialog for him.

“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 attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement on 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."

The actor has also hired criminal defense attorney Michael Monico, a former federal prosecutor who also recently represented Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, according to the New York Post.

Comments (29)
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RPG156
RPG156

I haven't see a report of how the CPD developed the brothers as suspects. Does anyone know?

Skidoo
Skidoo

Those who think they can game the system by claiming racist attacks from conservative supporters are running out of gas. MAGA supporters don't fit the profile of groups who use violent assaults, destruction of property and intimidation to get headlines. But leftist Democrats sure do.

RIDGERUNNER
RIDGERUNNER

I knew that I knew the the letter was so juvenile that he had to be behind it too. Is he not getting the attention he craves or is he just a typical liberal trying to make conservatives look bad? In which case he failed miserably. I never heard of him until this crap hit the fan but his name is certainly out there now. LOL

Stanracer
Stanracer

Hopefully he doesn't get away with this.

Rayb
Rayb

Unfortunately.. I bet nothing happens to him.. gay black and liberal equal a free pass.... he’ll write a book about it.. and Nancy Pelosi will buy the first copy..

5150
5150

I hope the prosecute him. I doubt they will, but I hope so. People like him only make it harder for people that actually have something happen to them. The gay community should be outraged at him.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Wah wah wah, I’m going to lose my character in my show so I will make up a story to force myself into the spotlight to maybe bring me back or get me more work. Oh by the way, I’ll play the race and gay card as hard as I can, in this scared politically correct government because I know they all walk on eggshells when it comes to dealing with gay AND black issues. I don’t care if it makes those kinds of people look bad, I’m just being selfish because I can’t stand the reality of me fading into the background and unemployed. Fucking loser. Too bad we have gutless government officials who can’t just come out and call a duck a duck, and end this bullshit.

slo1942
slo1942

Fuck SCUMlitt, He's a piece of SHIT RACIST !!!!!

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

He definitely orchestrated this entire thing!!! Including the letter!! A criminalist/profiler says that when a threatening letter is used in a crime and cutout words and letters from a magazine are used, it's because the perpetrator has a intimate relationship with the sender/receiver of the letter. They use the magazine to hide their handwriting. What a liberal lying hypocritical piece of shit he is!! I really hope they throw the book at his sorry no good ass!!! What a piece of scum!!!

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

Jussie will now wear this story around his neck for the rest of his life just as if it were the fake noose he used. This entire situation will end the life he previously led and as he previously knew it. How can he continue to run away from it and lie his way out of this?

Ghost31289
Ghost31289

‘Trump’s America - a place so racist and homophobic, a gay black man has to pay two Nigerians to beat him up to prove how racist and homophobic it is’