New evidence suggests that ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett may have paid brothers to stage ‘attack’

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Jussie Smollett

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CHICAGO — Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation .

The brothers were arrested Wednesday and released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.” The sources said the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources said there are records that show the two brothers bought the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago.

Smollett gave his first detailed account of what he says was a hate crime against him, and the aftermath, in an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Thursday. During the interview he expressed frustration at not being believed.

“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,” Smollett said. “And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.”

CNN’s attempts to reach both Smollett’s representative and attorney Saturday were unsuccessful.

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