Chicago police have shifted the direction of their investigation into actor Jussie Smollett’s report of a hate-crime assault and are seeking to interview him again, after releasing two men detained for questioning in the probe, a police spokesman said. Lisa Bernhard reports.
But the focus of that investigation has shifted, according to the Chicago PD, who over the weekend said they are now looking to interview the ‘Empire’ star again.
This, say police, is due to new information provided by two former ‘persons of interest’… Nigerian brothers… seen here in images from surveillance video taken in the area of the alleged attack.
Their attorney speaking to reporters last week after the two were released without charge.
LAWYER GLORIA SCHMIDT: ‘New evidence that was brought to their attention – I had it, obviously my clients had it – but I think it took a matter of coordination.’
Smollett, who is gay, claims two assailants struck him in the face, draped a rope around his neck and doused him with an ‘unknown chemical substance’ before fleeing.
Police said the actor took himself to a hospital but was not seriously hurt.
The alleged attack sparked protests and outrage on social media.
A police spokesman denied a media report last week that detectives were looking into whether Smollett had staged the attack, saying then that there was ‘no evidence to say this is a hoax.’
Attorneys for Smollett in a weekend statement said he was ‘angered and devastated’ by reports that the alleged attackers were people he is familiar with, including a personal trainer he hired to prepare him for a music video.
The New York Post reported that Smollett has also retained the services of criminal defense lawyer Michael Monico, who is also represents Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former ‘fixer.’