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    Jussie Smollett

    Smollett Should Face ‘Maximum’ Accountability if He Staged Assault - Activist

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    The case of US actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged assault has taken an unexpected turn after reports surfaced that the actor may have orchestrated the attack himself, prompting civil rights activist Al Sharpton to announce Sunday that Smollett should face “accountability to the maximum” if it is confirmed that the attack was indeed staged.

    "I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened, and the guilty should suffer the maximum," Sharpton said Sunday on his MSNBC program "Politics Nation." 

    "I still maintain that," he added. "And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum."

    On January 29, Smollett was allegedly beaten by two assailants in a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago, Illinois.

    According to Smollett, who stars as Jamal Lyon on Fox's "Empire," two perpetrators, who were wearing ski masks, yelled, "Aren't you that f****t 'Empire' n*****?" before attacking him, Sputnik previously reported.

    They also yelled, "This is MAGA country," before walking away from the scene of the crime. MAGA is shorthand for US President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."

    However, on Saturday, multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the case told CNN that they believe Smollett paid two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo (who were "Empire" extras) to stage the assault against him. According to the brothers, who were arrested and questioned by the Chicago Police Department last week, Smollett decided to stage the attack because he was upset that a threatening letter he had previously received did not generate enough attention, a Chicago Police Department official told ABC News Monday.

    In an interview with "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts last week, Smollett discussed the letter. 

    "Just because on the letter, it had a stick figure hanging from a tree with a gun pointing towards it with the words that said, 'Smollett, Jussie, you will die, black [expletive],'" Smollett said. "There was no address, but the return address said in big, red, you know, like caps, 'MAGA.' Did I make that up too?"

    The Osundairo brothers were released on Friday, as officials noted the discovery of "new evidence."

    In addition, Chicago police are investigating a tip that Smollett and the two brothers were seen in his apartment building elevator together the same night that Smollett reported being attacked.

    "We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation," the Chicago Police Department said in a statement this weekend. "We've reached out to the Empire cast member's attorney to request a follow-up interview."

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    police, investigation, assault, Jussie Smollett, Chicago
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