Monday, 18 February 2019

Chicago police have said Smollett may have orchestrated the assault on himself

Chicago police have said they still want to do a follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett about a reported attack that the 'Empire' star said included his assailants yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Guglielmi said Sunday Police have told Smollett’s attorneys they want to do a follow-up interview with the actor, Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said on Sunday, after saying earlier that the investigation had 'shifted' after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them without charges.

Guglielmi said he couldn’t comment on reports that police believe the actor staged the assault.

A spokesperson for Smollett’s lawyers said on Sunday she couldn’t comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.

Smollett’s lawyers said on Saturday the actor felt 'victimized by reports he played a role in the assault, and that Smollett would continue cooperating with police.
A grand jury is slated to hear the Jussie Smollett case next week, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation into the Empire actor's alleged hoax attack, though Guglielmi said he couldn't comment on whether a grand jury may hear evidence in the case.

Chicago police insiders told TMZ that authorities are keeping a close eye on two Nigerian brothers, who were arrested and questioned about the attack before being released on Friday, to make sure that Smollett doesn't try to contact them.

Investigators have said they believe Smollett may have paid Empire extras Abimbola 'Abel' and Olabinjo 'Ola' Osundairo $3,500 to assault him in an orchestrated, rehearsed attack on January 29. 

Sources say Smollett initially agreed to sign complaints against his assailants, but declined to do so once he heard that Abel and Ola were the men in custody because he knew them and felt bad for them. 

Reports of a possible grand jury emerged hours after the Chicago Police Department said Smollett was not yet being considered an official suspect, despite insider claims to the contrary.

'We have some information that needs to be corroborated and verified with the Empire cast member before we can answer this question,' CPD said in a statement to TMZ.

'After new developments, we've reached out to his attorney and requested additional time to interview him.'

Smollett has furiously denied claims that he orchestrated the assault and said 'nothing could be further from the truth'. 

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