He also allegedly sent himself a racist, threatening letter as part of the scheme. "But this publicity stunt was a scar Chicago didn't earn and certainly didn't deserve". Police sources said the brothers are cooperating with law enforcement.
Smollett is scheduled to appear on set on Thursday but is also due to appear in court for a bond hearing over the new charge. "Why would anyone especially an African-American man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations", Johnson said. And prosecutors told a judge Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a forensic analysis of a threatening letter Smollett received at the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on January 22.
That could expose Smollett to a charge of mail fraud, the attorneys said.
Fox have stood by the actor throughout by issuing statements supporting him. He said police were treating Smollett like a victim until then.
Smollett's lawyers asked for their client to be released on his own recognizance, but Judge John Lyke balked, saying it was "totally inappropriate". At the time, Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men who wore masks and shouted "MAGA country" - a reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again".
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Alexander believed Smollett at first too. "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with", they said in a statement.
"When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process", Johnson said.
Johnson said Smollett hasn't made any statement to police since his arrest.
Since the alleged attack, Smollett had received support on social media, including from several celebrities and Democratic presidential candidates. The Chicago Police Department cites records from a hardware store, where the brothers purchased the rope, and surveillance video of them picking up other supplies. After executing a search warrant, the police found out that Abel and Ola were linked to Smollett's show "Empire".
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells The Associated Press that Smollett turned himself in early Thursday at central booking. But, that grand jury ended up taking place on Wednesday. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
"I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention", he said. On Thursday, he tweeted, "what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!?"