Jussie Smollett: Police Seek New Interview With 'Empire' Actor After 'Shifted' Attack Investigation

Following a flurry of developments in the case, Chicago police are reportedly interested in interviewing Empire actor Jussie Smollett again about his alleged attack.

Authorities said the case "shifted" and they want to speak with Smollett again. Smollett's spokeswoman, Pamela Sharp, told WGN Sunday there were no updates "as of now" and another spokeswoman, Anne Kavanaugh, could not confirm if Smollett agreed to another interview.

"While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Smollett, 36, claimed he was attacked by two men in the early hours of Jan. 29 when he was walking to his Chicago apartment. He said the men yelled racial and homophobic slurs, threw an unknown chemical at him and put a rope around his neck.

On Friday, two brothers, Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were arrested and released hours later without being charged. Guglielmi said the two were released after they were interviewed and provided "new evidence."

Law enforcement sources told local news outlets the brothers told detectives that Smollett paid them to take part in the alleged attack and bought the rope found around the actor's neck. They reportedly said they were paid $3,500 before they left for Nigeria on the day of the attack and were promised $500 once they returned to Chicago. They also reportedly said they rehearsed the attack "days" before it happened.

Smollett's defense layers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued another statement Saturday night, insisting he did not play a "role in his own attack."

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

The attorneys said one of the men interviewed by police is a personal trainer hired to get Smollett ready "physically for a music video."

"It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity," the statement read.

They said Smollett will continue to cooperate with police, adding, "At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to 'unnamed' sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels."

During an appearance on Good Morning America last week, Smollett called rumors the attack was a hoax "offensive."

"It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more," Smollett said. "And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now."


Photo credit: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images