Actor Jussie Smollett has had two major developments unfold recently that support his claim that he did not orchestrate the beatdown and hate mail scandals that got him thrown in jail, then kicked off this season of “Empire.”
During a live press conference that went international, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to help stage his hate beatdown in the middle of the night. Chicago’s top cop based this on a check showing the amount was made payable from the “Empire” star’s account to one of the men, Abimbola Osundairo.
But according to the brothers’ testimonies before a grand jury prior to the indictment, the check also has “5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don’t Go)” written in the memo line, TMZ reported on Sunday morning, Feb. 24, 2019.
The payment, therefore, was for the brothers to help Smollett get into shape for a music video for his single, “Don’t Go.”
Smollett, who weighs about 192 pounds, admired the brothers, who are bodybuilders as well as paid extras on the “Empire” show. He wanted to develop a six-pack stomach much like the ones the brothers have. Smollett also wanted to lose 20 pounds for the video, because he was supposed to appear shirtless in it.
There’s more. Smollett’s had a series of texts to and from “Bon” that began on Jan. 20, which outlined a healthy meal plan including chicken thigh, Starkist tuna, eggs and Smucker’s peanut butter and various fruit.
“This is the meal plan and the breakdown of macronutrients. Also includes projected fat loss,” Abimbola texted Smollett, according to TMZ.
Another text, dated Jan. 28, hours before the attack, “Bon” wrote to Smollett: “I know you’re traveling today, make sure you get at least 45 mins of cardio.”
The $3,500 breaks down like this: $600 a week for five weeks of the workout plan and $100 a week for the food plan, also for five weeks, TMZ reports.
There is another text that shows the “Don’t Go” music video was scheduled to be filmed on Feb. 23. Meanwhile, a screenshot from Venmo shows Smollett had paid “Bola” $100 on Sept. 27 for “training.”
Both brothers testified before a grand jury telling prosecutor Kim Foxx that the payment was for training.
Also, while the FBI is still investigating the hate mail scandal, an insider at the bureau said Smollett may not have mailed the hate letter to himself, according to Complex magazine. In fact, the FBI said the Chicago police superintendent spoke too soon when he publicly accused Smollett of this particular crime.