Conservatives feel vindicated by new developments in Jussie Smollett case (updated)

Tinseltown/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Donald Trump Jr. is really invested.

The case of Jussie Smollett, who said he was attacked by two men in Chicago last month, has gotten more complicated in recent days, and conservatives on Twitter can’t get enough.

Smollett, an actor on the TV show Empire, told Chicago police he was attacked by two men early in the morning of Jan. 29.

Smollett alleged that the two men called him the N-word and F-word, wrapped rope around his neck, and shouted, “This is MAGA country.”

On Thursday, Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that reports that the attack was orchestrated were “unconfirmed by case detectives.”

Then, on Friday, Guglielmi stated that detectives had “additional investigative work to complete” after releasing two individuals, a pair of brothers from Nigeria, being questioned in connection with the case.

The brothers, identified as Ola and Abel Osundairo, are reportedly cooperating with the police. They were arrested Wednesday on returning from the U.S. from Nigeria; police reportedly raided their home Wednesday, retrieving a red hat, bleach, shoes, and electronics, according to ABC.

On Saturday, Guglielmi told the BBC, “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.”

“We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview,” he added.

Smollett through his lawyers has denied allegations that he was behind the attack.

“Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” his lawyers Victor Henderson and Todd Pugh said in a statement.

“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Conservatives on Twitter have seized on the situation.

Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on the incident, as well.

He weighed in quite a lot, actually.

The Daily Dot reached out to the Chicago Police Department for an update on the case but did not receive a response by press time. Guglielmi told the Daily Dot in an email,

We were in the middle of an interrogation so as you would expect, information evolves during that process. While we are not in a position to comment, confirm or deny what’s been unofficially released, there are some developments in the investigation and we are now interested in speaking to the Empire cast member again.  We have been in touch with his attorney and made that request.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation, hate crimes against marginalized people, including people of color and LGBTQ people, increased from 2016 to 2017 as reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the Human Rights Campaign points out, hate crimes are underreported.

Updated 5:55pm CT, Feb. 17: The post was updated to include Guglielmi’s comment.

Ellen Ioanes

Ellen Ioanes

Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.