Amidst the “Empire” star Jussie Smollett debacle surrounding a possible hate crime hoax, another LGBT activist has been charged for the suspected arson of his own home.
According to the Detroit News, Nikki Joly is a resident of Jackson, Michigan, about 70 miles west of Detroit, and has done so much for promoting the gay community in his city that he was named “Citizen of the Year” by a local newspaper. Joly is a biological woman who identifies as a man.
Residents were shocked 13 months ago when his house burned down, killing two German shepherds and three cats inside despite attempts by neighbors and firefighters to save the animals.
The FBI has investigated the obvious case of arson as a possible hate crime. One local man, who made a threat against the city council for putting a rainbow flag in the park, had a clear alibi.
Now Joly himself has been charged under the suspicion that he torched his own home — with his pets inside — as part of a hate crime hoax.
Numerous pieces of evidence linked Joly to the fire, but the suspected motive is now being revealed. And it’s jaw-dropping.
According to the police, people who knew Joly said he was upset that the gay pride parade he had just hosted didn’t become the target of angry protesters. In other words, he was outraged that his work in the city had been too effective.
The charges against Joly are drawing a lot of consternation from the gay community supporters.
“It’s embarrassing. How do you do it to the community you have put so much effort into helping?” Travis Trombley wondered aloud.
“All that good work is tainted. We know one bad mark outshines a hundred good ones,” Stella Shananaquet said. “I’m infuriated someone could tear down the community that way.”
Joly’s attorney maintains that his client is innocent.
In the latest Smollett update, ABC News has obtained a copy of the check the actor apparently wrote to one of the Nigerian brothers who admitted to helping Smollett stage the attack. The personal check for $3,500, which names both Smollett and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, has a memo that reads: “5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don't Go).”
Abel was Smollett’s personal trainer, and according to ABC’s sources, “Don’t Go” is a music video Smollett has been working on. Text messages between Smollett and Abel obtained by ABC News show a conversation about nutrition.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson went on ‘Good Morning America” to reveal that “there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he [Smollett] gave."
Smollett’s attorneys continue to maintain their client’s innocence.