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Hours before he was allegedly attacked in Chicago, Jussie Smollett reportedly participated in a reading of a play in New York City that was similar to the alleged attack.
“He had been in New York City for a reading of the play Take Me Out, with sources telling DailyMail.com that Smollett was being considered to appear in a possible revival of the Tony-winning production about a biracial baseball star who comes out as gay,” The Daily Mail reported. “The script for that play finds the lead character being attacked by a new pitcher who joins the team. That character uses the same racial slurs Smollett told police his attackers screamed at him, including ‘f****t’ and ‘n****r.'”
Local Chicago media reported on Monday that sources indicated that they believe that Smollett orchestrated the attack on himself because there was not a “bigger reaction” to an allegedly racist letter that he received a week before the attack.
The latest developments in the Smollett case come after the case turned a corner late last week. CBS Chicago reported on Saturday:
Sources told CBS 2 News that Smollett paid the two men $3,500 to stage the attack in Streeterville. The brothers, seen on surveillance video near the scene of the alleged attack, told investigators Smollett directed them to buy the rope used in the incident, and paid for the purchase at Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in Ravenswood days before the incident.
The brothers, who were questioned by police last week before being released, were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return.
They left for Nigeria later in the day on Jan. 29, after the attack.
A report from The Blast on Monday indicated that FBI officials are still investigating who was behind the letter that Smollett received at the Fox studio where “Empire” is recorded.
Law enforcement officials were reportedly suspicious of Smollett’s story from early on for multiple reasons. TMZ reported on Sunday:
The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera.
And, there’s this. We’re told investigators didn’t believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, “This is MAGA country,” because, “Not a single Trump supporter watches ‘Empire.'”
Representatives for Smollett indicated on Monday that Smollett does not plan on meeting with Chicago police today after authorities said they wanted to question him after the recent developments in the case.
“There are no plans for Jussie Smollett to meet with Chicago police today,” Smollett spokeswoman Anne Kavanagh said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf. We have no further comment today.”