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By J. D. Heyes

In the days since “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was physically assaulted as he ventured out in sub-zero temperatures around 2 a.m. in Chicago to get a Subway sandwich, there have been elements of his story that have either been questionable or have not added up.

Smollett, 35, one of the actors on the Fox television hit, told police the morning after the alleged attack that he was set upon by two people who yelled racial and homophobic slurs during the assault and wrapped a rope around his neck while dousing him in bleach.

As The New York Times reported, Chicago PD said they were investigating the alleged assault as a “possible hate crime.” The paper noted further:

Smollett, who is black and publicly came out as gay in 2015, was walking on a downtown street when two people approached him and yelled the slurs, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department. The attackers then began hitting Smollett in the face and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him.

“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” police said.

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi as saying, “The alleged assailants made racially charged comments to the victim implying that they knew he was a star from the show.” 

At first, Guglielmi said, Smollett told them he was reluctant to call police because of the attention he would draw. But his manager eventually called police at 2:42 a.m.

In the initial interview, Smollett — who has posted a number of anti-Trump messages to his Twitter account — told police that his assailants were two men who wore ski masks and dressed in all black clothing. But it wasn’t until a subsequent interview the following morning that he told detectives that the men also yelled, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — during the attack.

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    Since then:

    — Police have not found any video evidence of the attack, though the area where Smollett said he was attacked is rife with cameras from public and private venues. They have, however, found video of him walking to the Subway. 

    — As The Gateway Pundit reported, the temperature in Chicago at the time of the alleged attack was between -15 and -30 degrees wind chill; though Smollett said the attackers poured bleach him, that seems unlikely since bleach freezes at around 18 degrees F. 

    — The site also reported that Smollett told authorities that he suffered a cracked rib in the assault, but video at his condo complex shows that he walked past security to the elevator without telling anyone he had been attacked and that they “broke his ribs.” Also, he was carrying the sandwich that he bought at Subway.

    — He admitted on Saturday that his rib wasn’t broken, a detail tweeted out by conservative author and entrepreneur Michelle Malkin.

    — Chicago PD subsequently released images of two “persons of interest” in the attack but still was not able to find any video of the actual attack. Also, those persons were walking away from the alleged crime scene just 15-20 minutes before it allegedly took place.

    — Finally, Smollett claims he and his manager were on the phone during the alleged attack but the actor would not turn over his phone to police to verify the claim.

    Did he lie? Did this Trump-hating Leftist actor make it all up? Chicago police are still treating him as a victim but officials have said if investigators discover he fabricated the incident they’ll hold him accountable.

    The clock is ticking.

    A version of this story first appeared at NewsTarget.

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