According CBS 2 Chicago, a source intimately familiar with the Jussie Smollett investigation says that the alleged attack on Smollett was potentially orchestrated by the actor himself and two other men.
Chicago police say this report hasn’t yet been confirmed.
The two “persons of interest” are brothers who previously worked with Smollett on the show “Empire.” The brothers are now in police custody, and are being questioned in connection with the alleged staged attack, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Their attorneys have said the brothers could be charged as early as Friday.
After a police raid, the front door of their home was busted off of the frame. Personal belongings were scattered across the living room; bedroom doors were damaged and clothes thrown all over the room.
“They were actually detained at customs at O’Hare airport yesterday around 5:45 p.m.,” said their lawyer Gloria Schmidt. “They had no idea what was going on, and they’ve been detained since then.”
According to the brothers’ attorney, they were returning home from a trip to Nigeria when they were picked up by police at O’Hare. The officers had left the brothers’ home and took several items, making an inventory list of some of the items taken. The list included a black face mask hat, a copy of a script for “Empire”, a phone, receipts, a red hat, and some bleach.
“When they first learned about what happened to him, they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt revealed that the two men worked with Smollett and the three occasionally attended the same gym.
“They are really baffled why they are people of interest,” she said. “They really don’t understand how they even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they are not guilty of it.”
More than two weeks ago, Smollett reported to police that he was approached by two men yelling homophobic and racial slurs. The two alleged attackers allegedly poured a chemical on him and put a rope around his neck.
Smollett told his version of events to Good Morning America saying, “When the police came, I kept the clothes on. I kept the rope,” Smollett said. “I mean, it wasn’t like wrapped around, but yeah it was around because I wanted them to see. I wanted them to see what this was.”
No surveillance footage of the two men exists, however Chicago police did release a grainy photo of the two men who where in the area at the time of the alleged crime.
“I feel that they feel the pinch to make an arrest. It’s an awful thing that happened to Jussie, but it’s not my guys,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt went on to say she does not believe the attack was a hoax or staged.
The family of the brothers says all of this is a complete shock.
As of Thursday night, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson had contacted a Chicago news outlet to deny reports that the attack is a hoax, stating that these reports are unconfirmed by case detectives.
Both men have now been arrested by police.