The case of the much-publicised attack of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has taken a turn as sources have alleged to U.S. media that police believe he may have paid two Nigerian brothers to stage it reports BBC News.
The brothers, who worked as extras on “Empire,” were arrested and questioned by Chicago police last week but were released on Friday and are said to be still co-operating with the investigation.
In the wake of their release, a Chicago police spokesman says the “trajectory of the investigation” has shifted and have reached out to Smollett’s attorney to request a follow-up interview. Sources for Deadline allege that said new trajectory involves Smollett being “an active participant in the incident”.
Lawyers for Smollett have denied he had any role in the assault last month which he alleges was carried out by two white men, saying in a statement:
“Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.
One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. 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.
Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.”
After offering repeated support for Smollett over the past three weeks, FOX has gone radio silent over the weekend as the story is snowballing.