COPS investigating Jussie Smollett’s alleged hoax attack say they have “a lot more evidence” that could incriminate him.
The police chief in charge of the probe revealed the Empire star wrote a cheque for £2,600 to pay for the “staged attack”.
Handout – Getty Smollett, pictured in police mugshot, is accused of staging a hoax attack
GMA The cheque Jussie Smollett paid Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo
Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson appeared on Good Morning America on Monday to defend the Chicago Police Department’s investigation.
He dismissed the actor’s claim that the cheque was for personal training, adding that there was “surveillance footage and physical evidence” to prove the attack was a hoax, reports Mail Online.
Rejecting Smollett’s lawyer’s claim that he has been vilified, Johnson said: “He still has the presumption of evidence and he’ll get his opportunity in court if he chooses to go that route.
“I can tell you this, there’s a lot more evidence that has not been presented yet that does not support his version of the incident.”
“There is still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that simply does not support his version.
“It’s not the Chicago PD saying he did something. It’s the evidence, the facts and the witnesses saying this.”
Smollett is accused of paying brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage a fake racist attack on him to get attention.
There is still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that simply does not support his versionSuperintendent Eddie T. Johnson
But the brothers claim the cash was for them to train him for five weeks after Smollett “wanted abs like his”, reported TMZ.
Both Abel and Ola agreed to train Jussie, and also give him a five-week nutrition plan, they reportedly say.
A few days before the alleged “attack”, Smollett paid the two men with the cheque’s memo reading “5 weeks training nutrition plan”.
Last week, Smollett told officers he has a drug problem as they arrested him for allegedly staging the attack to boost his career, according to US reports.
Cops later said the Empire star had bought ecstasy from one of the brothers said to have helped him in the elaborate hoax.HOAX ALLEGATIONS
Police charged Smollett last Wednesday with staging the violent attack in Chicago and he handed himself in the next morning.
During his arrest he reportedly told officers he struggled with drug use and had never been treated, TMZ reports.
And police papers say text messages appear to show Smollett asking pal and Empire extra Abel Osundairo for “Molly” – a street name for ecstasy.
If he is convicted, a drug problem could be used as a mitigating factor and get his sentence reduced, US reports say.
Police said the actor messaged Abel days before saying: “Might need your help on the low.”
Smollett reportedly headed straight to the Empire TV set from court to plead with cast members after being released on £76,000 bail on Thursday.
Sources told TMZ that Jussie arrived late on the TV series set and then begged his cast mates to believe he did not orchestrate the hoax.
Earlier on Thursday, the actor was told to surrender his passport when he appeared in front of State of Illinois Circuit Court Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr.
The judge called the hate-crime hoax allegations against the star “utterly outrageous,” reports the New York Post.
This is just one incident…there are real victims of crimes of that nature, hate crimes, and I just hope people don’t treat them with scepticismSuperintendent Eddie T. Johnson
“The most violent, despicable part of it, if true, is the noose,” he said. “That symbol conjures up such evil in this country’s history.”
Johnson added that he did not want Smollett’s case to act as a deterrent to true victims of hate crimes.
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He said: “This is just one incident…there are real victims of crimes of that nature, hate crimes, and I just hope people don’t treat them with scepticism.
“This is one particular incident and it has to stand on its own merits.”
The actor is due back in court on March 14 to face a felony charge of filing a false police report.
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AFP or licensors The Empire star was arrested last week
GMA Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson appeared on Good Morning America to defend the Chicago Police Department’s investigation
Instagram Brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25, were held by cops but later released
AP:Associated Press Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release
AP:Associated Press In this courtroom sketch, Smollett, appears in from before Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr