Their note continued, “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.”
Chicago police are reportedly interested in interviewing Jussie Smollett again following his racially-charged attack in Chicago on Jan. 29.
In the two weeks following the attack, many of Smollett’s Empire‘s co-stars spoke out condemning it and he even gave an emotional concert in Los Angeles just days after leaving the hospital.
The Chicago Police Department’s investigation into the attack took a turn on Thursday when they identified two persons of interest in the case. Chicago Police spokesman Tom Ahern told E! News on Thursday that the two men, reportedly brothers, were “under arrest and being questioned as suspects but have not been charged.”
The men were released one day later. The department’s Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi tweeted, “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.”
Now, according to a new statement that Guglielmi sent to E! News, the investigation has deviated a bit.
“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,” he wrote.
When Smollett was attacked in January, his assailants reportedly wrapped rope around his neck and splashed him with an unknown chemical. The men allegedly yelled, “This is MAGA country!” while it happened. Guglielmi said in a statement right after the attack that the department was “taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Multiple outlets report the brothers bought the rope at a hardware store in Chicago. CBS Chicago reports Smollett allegedly paid for the rope and that the two men were paid $3,500 and were promised $500 more after returning from a trip to Nigeria. E! News cannot independently confirm this information at this time.
Guglielmi tweeted on Thursday, “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.” He said in another statement to E! News on Thursday when the brothers were first arrested, “While we haven’t found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax. The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect.”
Also on Thursday, Smollett appeared on Good Morning America and teared up while discussing the incident. Smollett told GMA’s Robin Roberts that he was “pissed off” that people doubted the legitimacy of the attack.
20th Century Fox Television told E! News in a statement, “No comment or statement at this time.”
(This article was originally published on Feb. 16 at 6:38 p.m.)