The Jussie Smollett case will go before a grand jury early next week, according to a new report.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ that a panel will hear the case, but the outlet didn’t elaborate on who is facing charges — or what they might be.
According to the New York Post, the Empire star told police he was assaulted in Chicago on Jan. 29 by two men spewing racist and homophobic slurs at him — but his story has since come under fire as sources have alleged to news outlets that he actually paid some friends to stage the whole thing.
Police arrested brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo on Wednesday after they were captured on security footage near the scene — but they were released on Friday without charges, and police then said evidence they gave has shifted the “trajectory of the investigation.”
Police are also now investigating whether magazines with missing pages that they found when raiding the brothers’ homes are connected to a threatening letter sent to Smollett weeks before the attack with cut-out letters reading, “You will die black f–,” according to TMZ.
Smollett originally made it clear to cops that he’d sign complaints against his assailants — but once the Osundairos were arrested, he said he knew them and felt bad for them, and refused to press charges, sources tell TMZ.
Police originally found the star’s story suspect when he brought them to the scene of the incident and pointed out a camera noting the whole attack was caught on video — and were also suspicious of the claim that his assailants shouted, “This is MAGA country,” because “Not a single Trump supporter watches ‘Empire,’” the gossip site reports.
Sources have told CBS Chicago that Smollett paid the bodybuilding brothers $3500 ($A4893) for the attack — with the promise of another $500 ($A700) to come — and even purchased the rope the duo allegedly used for the assault.
Smollett denies playing any role in the attack.
His lawyers said in a statement over the weekend that one of the brothers was his personal trainer, and the star finds it “impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.”
Newly unearthed court documents show budding model-actors Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo both filed for bankruptcy in Illinois in September 2016 — with each declaring large students loans and very little income at the time.
Abimbola reported $161,481 ($A225,758) in debt, including $85,475 ($A119,498) in student loans, while only making $160 ($A224) a month — while his brother claimed he had $72,771 ($A101,737) in liabilities, including $39,114 ($A54,683) in student loans, and made just $142 ($A198) a month.
Both reported being part-owners of a party supply store, but said it was operating at a loss.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.
Originally published as Smollett case headed to grand jury