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story.lead_photo.caption This Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 photo shows an apartment that was searched by police in connection with an investigation of an attack on actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago. Two men characterized by police as "persons of interest" in the attack against Smollett are now considered suspects and have been arrested on "probable cause that they may have committed a crime," a Chicago police spokesman said Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the Chicago apartment where the men lived but did not have any information about what exactly what police found. (Nader Issa/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO -- Chicago police and representatives for Jussie Smollett weren't speaking publicly about the investigation into a reported attack on the Empire actor a day after authorities said the case had "shifted" and they wanted to interview Smollett again.

Pamela Sharp, a spokesman for Smollett, said Sunday that there were no updates "as of now." Another spokesman, Anne Kavanagh, later said she couldn't comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.

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 also reached out to Smollett's attorney to request the follow-up interview with him.

Smollett's lawyers said late Saturday that the actor felt "victimized" by reports that he played a role in the assault, adding, "Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying." The statement from attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson also said Smollett would continue cooperating with police.

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.

Police said they combed surveillance video in the heavily monitored area but were unable to find any footage of the attack. They did obtain images of two people they said they would like to question.

On Wednesday, Chicago police picked up the brothers at O'Hare International Airport as they returned from Nigeria. They described them as "suspects" in the assault, questioned them and searched their apartment.

Then, late Friday evening they released the two men without charges and said they were no longer suspects. They said they had gleaned new information from their interrogation of them.

One of the men is Smollett's personal trainer, whom the actor hired to help get him physically ready for a music video, Smollett's attorneys said in their statement.

"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," they said.

Police have said they were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and considered Smollett a victim. Reports of the assault drew anger and support for him on social media, including from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Smollett, who is also a musician, gave an emotional speech during a Feb. 2 concert in West Hollywood, Calif., saying he went ahead with the show because he couldn't let his attackers win.

He also gave an interview to Robin Roberts of ABC News that aired Thursday in which he said he was angry with people who did not believe he was attacked.

"I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative," he said. "I'm not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That's ridiculous. And it's offensive."

Last week, police said reports that the attack against Smollett was a hoax were unconfirmed.

Producers of the Fox television drama have supported Smollett, saying his character on Empire, Jamal Lyon, was not being written off the show.

Smollett turned over redacted phone records that police said were not sufficient for a criminal investigation.

A Section on 02/18/2019

Print Headline: Police note shift in 'Empire' actor inquiry; follow-up interview sought

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Comments

  • ZeebronZ
    February 18, 2019 at 9:14 a.m.

    Publicity stunt? His character WAS going to be written off the show. Not now!

  • Packman
    February 18, 2019 at 9:33 a.m.

    We may never know the real reason Smollett perpetrated this hoax. Honestly, that’s beside the point. As a society what we’ve learned is democrats, members of the legacy media, and the gbltqiaWTF community desperately wanted it to be true to the extent they refused to see the waving red flags from the outset.
    .
    Sadly, the Smollett hoax exploited a contrived divide in this country and now makes it more difficult for actual hate crimes to be reported and credible. Will the untold number of celebrities, media persons, and elected officials who rushed to use the Smollett hoax smear Trump voters apologize? Of course not. They simply do not have the moral or personal character to do the right thing.

  • mozarky2
    February 18, 2019 at 10:01 a.m.

    What's funny is how the enemedia, Hollywood, and "progs" everywhere immediately jumped on this story without even seeing the glaring contradictions.
    They should know by now that if there's a noose involved, it's a hoax-especially if it's tied with a Windsor knot. (Smollett must have believed that the necktie parties of the Old West involved real neckties)!
    Also odd that Al Sharpton (of Tawana Brawley fame) is calling for the maximum penalty for Smollett.
    Let's see if any of the "progs" on this forum can do the same.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    February 18, 2019 at 10:26 a.m.

    Whats more fun than racist white males?
    Aborting males?
    drugging males?
    raping males?
    More fun than most have watching it happen?

  • mozarky2
    February 18, 2019 at 12:07 p.m.

    Instead of feeling relief that maybe there isn’t as much hate out there as she thought, Nana Efua Mumford wrote about her heartbreak that maybe he wasn’t actually attacked by some evil Trump supporters in an article titled, “I doubted Jussie Smollett. It breaks my heart that I might be right.”

  • RBear
    February 18, 2019 at 12:22 p.m.

    I didn't dive into the sh** show some of you right wing freaks did along with some on the left last week when this was developing because ... IT WAS DEVELOPING. But now that more details have come out through the investigation by CPD, I'm as disgusted as anyone about the way this is playing out. Smollett deserves punishment if he indeed perpetuated a hoax. For any claims he made if it is a hoax, he's hurt those who are truly hurt by homophobic attacks such as the couple in Austin recently.
    ...
    The reason I didn't jump in is because most on the right posted comments that were so disgusting they probably should have been removed from the boards. It just shows the level of depravity some will go to when trying to discredit someone. No wonder many on the right are Trump freaks.

  • mozarky2
    February 18, 2019 at 12:30 p.m.

    "The reason I didn't jump in is because most on the right posted comments that were so disgusting they probably should have been removed from the boards"...said the biggest Schiff show on this forum.
    Sorry you are so ignorant you didn't immediately recognize this for the obvious hoax it was, Robert Bear.

  • mozarky2
    February 18, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.

    Odd, too, that Smollett's agent is Ari Emanuel, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's brother. I also wonder what, if any role Kamala Harris and Cory Booker played in this. Harris slipped some LGBT protections into that "anti-lynching" stupidity she's trying to pass.

  • RBear
    February 18, 2019 at 12:53 p.m.

    Frank you are probably one of the worst in here. I mean, I sure hope you don't pollute your granddaughter with such vile thoughts. BTW, looking forward to your response someday on the falsified diversity reports from Haas Hall. Looks like DoE pretty much took them to the woodshed on their diversity claims.
    ...
    No, you jumped early without any proof. In fact, none of what you claimed even came close to what CPD has discovered. It's one of those situations where you may end up at the same place, but theirs will be through fact and reason and yours will be out of spite for a class of individuals.

  • Packman
    February 18, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

    Hey RBear - Are you saying it’s not a hoax?
    .
    I have it on good authority there will be a new category at the Oscar’s next year: Best Performance By A Lying Lib Affected By Trump Derangement Syndrome. Current nominees include Andy McCabe, Jussie Smollett, Chrissy Ford, and pretty much everyone that works for CNN.

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