CHICAGO, IL. (THECOUNT) — Jussie Smollett’s brother, JoJo Smollett, spoke out for the first time about among other things, the actor’s career, finances and current state of mental health.

Even though the Chicago Police Department revealed in meticulous detail how Jussie planned his own hate crime, there are still those who come to the Empire actor’s defense. For now, the court of public opinion seems to have ruled that he was not being completely honest after claiming he was brutalized during a Chicago hate crime street attack.


JoJo has remained mostly silent on the subject of his brother’s issues until now in a new essay for BET.

In the interview, JoJo comes to his brother’s defense while challenging everyone to ask themselves “What if Jussie is telling the truth?” A concept most are having a hard time wrapping their head around.

JoJo took on the Chicago Police Department over factual evidence released that countered what they reported to the public. He also pointed out that the “homophobic” Osundairo brothers changed their story several times during the investigation and that it wasn’t reported that one of them had a violent past.

“With not one inkling of solid evidence, many believed the false witness testimony from two suspects who turned into witnesses, even though they lacked standard credibility. It was under-reported that one of the “witnesses” had previously been arrested for attempted murder ending with a plea deal for aggravated battery, or that the brothers repeatedly expressed homophobia on their social media in the past. Additionally, it was never reported that they changed their story while under police interrogation,” reports MadameNoire.

JoJo, Jussie’s older brother, said when the felony charges for disorderly conduct were dropped, it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the case against the Empire star was “weak.”

“There were lots of things that came out in public to give them concern. After the initial reporting about a “check” paid to allegedly stage the incident, which turned out to have been a check for personal training and nutrition, other inconsistencies came out where the public accusations did not match up against the truth.” He added, “One important note, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department announced publicly that Jussie’s motive in staging an attack was so he could make more money from Empire. Fox immediately said that wasn’t true but the police chief never withdrew his accusation. The chief also stated as fact that Jussie had sent himself the threatening letter that arrived at the Empire production offices weeks before the attack. The FBI then refuted this claim”

The elder Smollett also said the experience has been “traumatic” for his brother and that he has seen the effects it has had on his mental health.

“I have literally seen him violently awakening from night terrors, following the assault. Some of my siblings, as well as Jussie’s partner and closest friends have seen similar things.”

Smollett has also been hit financially.

“Today, unfortunately, he finds his livelihood in jeopardy. Jussie was concerned that forfeiting the $10,000 bail could look like an admission of guilt. In fact, not paying, and proceeding with a potentially multi-year process that would bankrupt him and his career was not a realistic option. Even now he carries immense financial burdens for his legal defense and security needs.”

Jussie Smollett continues to maintain his innocence.