LOS ANGELES • Two brothers have told policemen that they rehearsed an "attack" on gay Empire actor Jussie Smollett before the incident occurred.
According to sources cited by gossip portal TMZ, Smollett had chosen the place - outside his Chicago apartment - for the "assault" and had told the brothers not to rough him up too much.
Smollett, 36, reported to the police on Jan 29 that two men had yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him, poured bleach on him and tied a rope around his neck while he walked downtown in Chicago.
The police have since said that their investigation had "shifted" after talking to the alleged attackers, who were released, and that they intend to conduct a follow-up interview with the actor.
ABC News reported that Smollett had staged the attack, paying the two men, because he was upset that a threatening letter he had received earlier had not been treated seriously by the authorities.