Investigators believe Jussie Smollett and the non-cooperating witnesses in last month’s alleged attack of the Empire actor “potentially staged the attack,” a source with intimate knowledge of the investigation tells CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards.
Chicago police raided the home of two “persons of interest” Wednesday night, a relative of those men says.
Police took bleach, shoes, electronics, receipts and other items from the home.
The men, who are both of Nigerian descent, have appeared as extras on the show and their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, says they do both know Smollett.
“They do know Jussie,” she said. “They have worked with him on Empire. My preliminary investigations show that on set it’s very tight. They’re all very cordial with each other, so they’re baffled why they are people of interest.”
The relative who was home Wednesday night says she heard a loud banging at the door, and that the door came crashing down. She says a flood of officers were there saying they had a search warrant.
She says she was patted down by an officer, and police asked her if she knows Smollett. The woman, who is in her 20s, says she was “so scared” and thought she was going to die.
The woman says she was confused, but she did know Smollett was from the show. She says she feels the police picked the two brothers up for questioning because there is a loose connection to Smollett, and the men left for Nigeria the same day of the attack.
The men’s attorney says they were visiting family in Nigeria and were picked up at O’Hare Wednesday night.
Smollett himself was questioned at CPD Area Central Thursday, police confirmed.
CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says media reports about “the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.” He says the “supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released the following statement regarding new reports:
“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.”
SOURCE: CBS Chicago – Brad Edwards