(CBS) –“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, upset after a racist letter sent to the show’s studio didn’t get a “bigger reaction,” is suspected of paying two men to attack him a week later, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards. Other sources corroborated that information.
The blockbuster revelation into at least part of Smollett’s potential motive comes two days after CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Smollett and two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — staged the attack on Jan. 29 in Streeterville.
De Mar spoke on the phone exclusively with the Osundairo brothers Monday afternoon. In a joint statement, they said: “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.”
Smollett received a letter containing a white powder Jan. 22. The letter was mailed to Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, where the show “Empire” is filmed. The letter prompted a HAZMAT response. CPD says the “white substance” was later determined to be aspirin.
The note was crafted with letters apparently cut out from magazines to form words. The pieced-together message contained racial and homophobic threats directed at Smollett. A magazine is one of the pieces of evidence retrieved from the brother’s home last week during a search conducted by CPD. Investigators also recovered a book of stamps.