CHICAGO (WSVN) — Police in Chicago believe actor and singer Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault on himself, CNN is reporting citing two police sources.
However, attorneys for the “Empire” star released a statement late Saturday indicating there is no truth to these reports. It reads in part, “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
The latest twists in the case happen one day after police released two Nigerian brothers who had been arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting the “Empire” star. The sources told CNN these men are now cooperating with investigators.
In a tweet, police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said, “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 charges.”
Smollett said he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two men who “were yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one of the assailants put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
The sources said the brothers told police they were paid by Smollett. They also said records that show they bought the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.
Gloria Schmidt, the brothers’ attorney, said her clients did nothing wrong.
“A lot of good police work, a lot of hard work on our end, but at the end of the day, as I said before, innocence prevailed,” she said. “My guys are walking home. They’re not charged. They are not suspects in this case.”
Smollett’s attorneys said one of the brothers was the actor’s personal trainer, who had been hired to help him prepare for a music video.
Smollett discussed what he described as a hate crime against him in an interview with “Good Morning America.” He said he was frustrated because people expressed skepticism with his account.
Detectives have reached out to Smollett’s attorneys because they want to talk to him. At this point, they are still calling the actor a victim.
Smollett’s attorneys said their client will continue to cooperate with the investigation.
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