Jussie Smollett: Dried-out ‘dry run’ of alleged attack claimed

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Prosecutors said Smollett staged an attack because he was unhappy about his salary and “blackness”

Prosecutors in the Jussie Smollett case claim the actor did a “dry run” of the attack the day prior to the assault.

This means he could have staged or planned the attack at any time in the 24 hours before it happened, prosecutors say.

Jussie Smollett hired a rope, bleach and a ski mask, the prosecutors say.

Prosecutors are now seeking the arrest of two people they say were in his apartment on the day of the alleged attack.

That, they say, was the day before the two brothers – Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo – allegedly left for Nigeria.

Read more: Alleged racist attack – what we know so far

Prosecutors say the attack happened on 18 January, when the actor went out to get food after filming on his latest TV series.

Then he called his manager, who is Abimbola Osundairo, who alerted him to the attack, they say.

“We didn’t prepare it,” he reportedly told his manager that afternoon. “I’m gonna do it now.”

The pair allegedly returned to Mr Smollett’s apartment to watch his show – Empire – then left around the same time, according to prosecutors.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Jussie Smollett’s claims of a racist attack shocked the US

The next day the actor told police he had been attacked and had been hit in the face with a noose and told to tell his attackers that he was a “MAGA [Make America Great Again] supporter”.

“Two masked men, who had also been wearing red hats, hit him, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and shouted derogatory comments about his character and race,” the police said at the time.

The two Nigerian brothers have allegedly denied having any part in the attack.

Police eventually arrested them on 14 February and questioned them for two days before releasing them without charge.

A criminal complaint filed by prosecutors on Friday alleges that Smollett twice asked them “to come to the Area where he had property, including where he sometimes kept marijuana”, and to return later the same day or the next.

He allegedly told them he needed the assistance of the “most prolific” of them as the two others were “in jail” at the time.

The second time they came to his apartment, they allegedly found “weed and smouldering butt”.

Prosecutors also say Smollett asked them to pick him up from the corner store where he bought the ski mask, bleach and the rope.

Prosecutors say Smollett then told them he was going to be in the area “maybe to watch the game” and to go to his local coffee shop to speak to the owner.

Police are now looking for the “most prolific” Smollett associate.

They allege he was unable to explain how the items Smollett gave him appeared in the case against Smollett.

The four days without someone in Smollett’s apartment was a “lengthy period of time” in which he could have “planned or orchestrated” the attack, prosecutors claim.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo have denied having anything to do with the attack

Although police say Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy about his salary and “his blackness”, he told them he was not a “racist” and the fact he dressed in black did not indicate he was a racist.

Mr Smollett’s lawyers have suggested the actors staged the attack in order to get more money from television and film companies.

Since it emerged last month, some of Smollett’s Empire co-stars, including Taraji P Henson, have spoken out in his defence.

His lawyers described his initial interview with Chicago police as “exhausting, painful and demoralising”.

The actor has maintained his innocence.

Meanwhile, Abimbola Osundairo is “reeling” and “sad” about what happened, his lawyer has said.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

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