Chicago police said Sunday they’re still seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett after receiving new information that “shifted” their investigation of a reported attack on the “Empire” actor. The trajectory of the investigation “shifted” after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them late Friday without charges, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Saturday.
He said police reached out to Smollett’s attorneys to request another interview with him. Guglielmi said Sunday the interview hadn’t been conducted yet.
A source close to the investigation tells CBS News two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, told detectives Smollett paid them to participate in the attack. They said they bought rope that was found around Smollett’s neck at a nearby hardware store. A raid of their home turned up ropes, masks and bleach.
Sources told CBS Chicago the brothers rehearsed the assault with Smollett.
Guglielmi declined to comment on reports that police believe Smollett staged the assault or that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case
“We’re not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we’ve gotten,” he said.
Smollett, who is black and gay, has said he was physically attacked last month by two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” He said they looped a rope around his neck before running away as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant in downtown Chicago. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.
Pamela Sharp, a spokeswoman for Smollett, said Sunday there were no updates “as of now.” Another spokeswoman, Anne Kavanagh, later said she couldn’t comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.