The investigation into the homophobic and racist attack against actor Jussie Smollett has taken another dramatic turn. Chicago police are once again looking to question Smollett after new evidence suggests he may have orchestrated the entire incident.
CNN is reporting that two separate sources in the Chicago Police Department have told the news outlet that law enforcement now believes that the Empire star paid two men to attack him. The men are allegedly the same two that the police took into custody on Wednesday, which initially sparked speculation the attack may have been staged.
“We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has, in fact, shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview,” Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.
Case Update: Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete. pic.twitter.com/Hswn1Qjgcy
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 16, 2019
Not long after the giving his statement to the press, Guglielmi sent out a Tweet revealing the two men who were brought in for questioning were released. No charges were filed against Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. Both men allegedly have an affiliation with Smollet, and one of them was reportedly an extra on Empire for one day.
Lawyers and representatives for the 36-year-old actor have not yet responded to the latest development. However, when rumors began swirling that Smollett hired the Osundairo brothers for the attack because Empire was writing Jamal out, his reps call the allegations ridiculous. Cast members, Fox network, Empire writers and creators have all rallied around Smollett as authorities begin to doubt the incident.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of EMPIRE is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series, and we continue to stand behind him,” claimed 20th Century Fox in an official statement.
There is 0% truth that @JussieSmollett was going to be written off of Empire. This rumor is totally false. He is the third lead and one of the most beloved characters on the show. Writing him off the show has NEVER even been discussed.
— Danny Strong (@Dannystrong) February 15, 2019
Jussie Smollett finds himself in the spotlight once again thanks to the attack against him. However, this time the police are not necessarily looking at him as the victim. Chicago Police have not shared what evidence specifically suggests Smollett orchestrated the attack. Reports have surface though that one of the Osundairo brothers bought the rope that was tied around the actor’s neck and police are looking into that lead.
It is undoubtedly a bizarre turn of events and each day seems to bring about a new piece of evidence. What are your thoughts? Do you think Smollett was an active participant in the attack?