It continues to be difficult to get a full grasp on the bizarre and disturbing case of Jussie Smollett.
But we've updated The Hollywood Gossip with the latest information regarding this actor... his arrest... allegations that he orchetrated his own attack... and the possibility that the police have it wrong and he actually did not do so.
It's a lot to take in. Take a deep breath and join us down below:
Late last week, Smollett was arrested on a charge of falsifying a police report.
This is a felony that could result in a three-year prison sentence for the Empire star.
During a press conference announcing the arrest, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson repeatedly scolded the actor.
"Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I'm left hanging my head and asking why," he told the press, referring to the charge that Smollett staged his own assault on January 29, lying about two assailants beating him and taunting him with racial and homophobic slurts.
Added Johnson at this time:
Why would anyone — especially an African-American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?
How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?
On Tuesday, Johnson spoke to Good Morning America and emphasized once again that Smollett fabricated his account of events.
In an interview with Robin Roberts, the authority figure said the following:
"Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he gave.
"There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened."
Smollett reportedly paid Abimbola Osundairo and his brother $3,500 to help him with this scam.
The siblings worked as extras on Empire and Abimbola also worked as Smollett's personal trainer. This is a photo of them:
Now, the actual check Smollett cut to Osundairo has been made public.
It was written on January 23, six days before the attack, and check's memo line reads, "5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don't Go)."
Inisders say the actor was starting to train for an upcoming music video titled "Don't Go," in which he had to appear shirtless. It was scheduled to be filmed on February 23.
The $3,500 check was $600 per week for the workout plan, plus $100 per week for the nutrition plan, over five weeks, a source close to Smollett told ABC News.
This would actually seem to be evidence in Smollett's favor, that the paid the siblings for reasons that did not include the assault, but Johnson still sounds confident in his case.
"It's important for people to recognize that it's not the Chicago Police Department saying he did something, it's the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this," he told Roberts on GMA.
Elsewhere, ABC News has obtained copies of text messages supposedly sent between Smollett and one of the Osundairo brothers, whom he calls "Bon."
As you can see below, the two are talking about exercise and meal plans in the days preceding the alleged attack.
"This is the meal plan and the breakdown of macronutrients. Also includes projected fat loss," Bon writes on January 25.
There's also discussion about the aforementioned music video:
Again, this would appear to be support Smollett.
Just four days prior to the attack, there's no talk of Jussie and this brother planning it.
TMZ also now writes that no one associated with Empire ever heard a peep from Smollett about dissatisfaction with his salary, which Johnson listed as the main reason why he plotted this non-assault.
It was to raise his profile and earn a raise, Johnson has claimed.
Jussie was making a reported $125,000 per episode.This was on par with actor Bryshere Y. Gray, who plays his brother, Hakeem. (Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, the show's leads, reportedly make $250,000 an episode.)
However, another possible motive has emerged.
This whole story grows more confusing by the day.
We'll continue to update readers with the latest as news breaks.
Do you believe Jussie Smollett?