Jussie Smollett’s attorney made the surprising claim Thursday that his client “actually was beaten” in Chicago back in January, after the actor and his alleged attackers were questioned by the Chicago Police Department about the apparent racist and homophobic attack.
“Chicago police felt led to believe the other side of the story. The other side. It was all a lie. It was a setup,” defense attorney Todd Pugh said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends First.”
This from Attorney Todd Pugh who represents Jussie Smollett on the charges of staging a hate crime. The police department has already investigated his story once. https://t.co/NRAJ4LNbrq pic.twitter.com/tWnfSFSPc2 — Fox News (@FoxNews) May 11, 2017
“They actually beat him. He actually was beaten. Jussie was actually a victim of a crime, but it was completely covered up and they found a way to manipulate that into making something that they already knew happened,” Pugh said.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement to The Hill Thursday that they started investigating allegations that Smollett staged the attack after they were put into question during their initial “investigation.”
Prosecutors: Smollett was paid $3,500 for his role in a play
Hear the moment Chicago police pulled Jussie Smollett from his car!
📹 @fallontonight pic.twitter.com/MCZmY14Aqw — fallon (@FallonTonight) January 29, 2017
Smollett has insisted that his belief that he was attacked by two men in a racist and homophobic attack drove him to spend hours giving interviews to local media outlets.
The Chicago Police Department believes Smollett’s story was fabricated after hundreds of hours of interviews with his friends, cast members and co-workers, officials said.
“I’ve also reviewed hundreds of hours of police surveillance video. There is no footage of the alleged attackers. We have no idea who these people are. Nor do we have any video of the attack,” Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said earlier Thursday.
Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal on Empire, has been charged with filing a false police report.
His “Empire” co-stars supported Smollett on Twitter.
Racism and hate has no place in our society. We stand with the Smollett family during this difficult time. — Taraji P. Henson (@MrsTaraji) May 11, 2017
Jussie Smollett is part of the fabric of our Chicago family. We are all praying for him and his family. He is our brother and one of our own. — Sanaa Lathan (@SanaaLathan) May 11, 2017
The Smollett family has asked for privacy at this time. Their lawyer released a statement to the press.
“Jussie is an artist, a person of great sensitivity and intelligence whose personal behavior and statements have been erratic and unconscionable,” stated attorney Gloria Schmidt. “He endured brutal violence and is struggling to make sense of what has happened.”
Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream spoke with Smollett’s mother, Joleen, about the controversial case. Watch that interview above.
Watch Geraldo Rivera discuss the Jussie Smollett case here.
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