Two brothers told investigators they were paid by Jussie Smollett for vanguard news .
Two Nigerian brothers told Chicago police investigators that they were paid by “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to stage an attack on him, a police source tells USA TODAY.
The source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, said police are
attempting to interview Smollett again, so they can question him abou the brothers’ account.
Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was attacked while walking home through Chicago’s Streeterville
neighborhood late last month. He told police masked men tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and yelled homophobic slurs and “MAGA country!”
Police also found records in the Chicago home of one of the men that showed they purchased rope from a hardware
store that was used in the alleged attack, the source told USA TODAY.
“We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case
has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. “We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
Police had questioned the two brothers earlier this week after taking them into custody at O’Hare International
Airport upon returning from international travel. They initially classified the brothers as suspects in the Jan. 29 attack on Smollett.
Late Friday, the men were released from custody without charges. Anthony Guglielmi, Chicago police’s chief spokesman, cited “new evidence” as the reason for the men’s release.
Earlier this week, Chicago’s ABC affiliate reported that investigators believed that Smollett staged the attack, because he was being written off the show.