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Fox Cuts Jussie Smollett's Screen Time After Brothers Flip On 'Empire' Star

Empire star Jussie Smollett's screen time has been significantly reduced by Fox in the wake of a rapidly raveling hate-crime hoax in after two brothers of Nigerian-descent reportedly told Chicago PD that Smollett paid them to stage a January 29 attack meant to frame Trump supporters as bigots. 

According to TMZ, Smollett was supposed to have 9 scenes along with a "big musical number" in the second-to-last episode being filmed now, however five of his scenes have been cut, and he's "no longer the focus" in the remaining four scenes. 

With his duties pared down, Jussie will be spending way less time on set. Instead of working every day this week, we're told Jussie's working Friday and possibly Thursday, and he won't be rehearsing.

Less work for Jussie means more work for writers, who are busy making edits. In the past 24 hours, we're told the script has undergone multiple revisions. -TMZ

According to BuzzFeed, the fate of Smollett's Empire character is being kept under wraps by Fox - which has so far stood by the actor. 

Smollett's case is reportedly heading to a Grand Jury as early as Tuesday according to law enforcement sources, who say the focus is presenting evidence that could lead to a felony indictment against Smollett for filing a false police report

As we reported on Monday, evidence has emerged that Smollett concocted the January 29 attack because he was upset that a racist letter sent to the Empire studio didn't get a "bigger reaction," according to CBS 2 Chicago.

Smollett received a letter containing a "white substance" at Empire's Chicago Cinespace Studios where the show is filmed, prompting a HAZMAT response that failed to gain much traction. The "white substance" was later found to be aspirin. 

Jussie Smollett didn't just claim he was attacked by 2 white attackers in MAGA hats who poured bleach on him and put him in a noose, he also claimed he was sent a homophobic letter containing white powder a few days before the attack. pic.twitter.com/8axvypz4kJ

— Secret Asian Man (@anangbhai)

As a result of the letter's failure to impress, Smollett allegedly paid two acquaintances $3,500 each to rehearse and then attack him a week later in an attempt to frame Trump supporters as violent racists. 

When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards. Other sources corroborated that information.

The blockbuster revelation into at least part of Smollett’s potential motive comes two days after CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Smollett and two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — staged the attack on Jan. 29 in Streeterville. -CBS 2 Chicago

CBS 2 reporter Charlie De Mar spoke on the phone with the Osundario brothers Monday afternoon, who said in a joint statement: "We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.
While Chicago PD still wants to talk to Smollett, his crisis management team says he has no plans to do so this week. 

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