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Jurnee Smollett is standing by her brother, Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a hate crime and lying to the police about it in January 2019, in her first public comment regarding his situation.
“It’s been f***ing painful,” the actress told The Hollywood Reporter, “one of the most painful things my family’s ever experienced — to love someone as much as we love my brother, and to watch someone who you love that much go through something like this, that is so public, has been devastating. I was already in a very dark space for a number of reasons, and I’ve tried to not let it make me pessimistic. But everyone who knows me knows that I love my brother and I believe my brother.”
Jussie was arrested in February 2019 on charges of filing a false report, in which he alleged that two masked men attacked him in Chicago at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. They allegedly tied a rope around his neck, poured an unknown liquid on him and made a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
He was soon after cut from his successful Fox series Empire and has continued to deal with the legal fallout. Charges against him were dropped in March 2019, but a grand jury brought new charges against him in January of this year. He has always maintained his innocence.
In fact, Jurnee said she couldn’t say everything she wanted, because of her brother’s ongoing legal case. They are two of six siblings in a close family.
The former Friday Night Lights star, who will soon appear in HBO’s Lovecraft Country, said she’s had a lot of support in the aftermath.
“We are blessed to have a community of people who know him, and know that he wouldn’t do this,” she said.
She added he’s doing OK, and that he lived with her for a while after she filed for divorce from Josiah Bell in March.
“I mean, f***, man, I look at him sometimes and I’m like, ‘He’s so strong,’” Jurnee said.
She explained that her brother, who faces trial at an upcoming date, is “staying creative, as creatives do” by “singing, writing, working on music.”
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