On Thursday, local news reported that Chicago police were investigating Jussie Smollett for orchestrating his own attack. According to ABC7 Eyewitness News in Chicago, police were allegedly speaking with two persons of interest to determine whether the actor staged the brutal assault after being written off of Empire. However, Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago police department, contradicted the report, saying the information was unconfirmed and inaccurate.
A source familiar with the investigation told ABC7 that the home of two individuals related to the attack was raided on Wednesday night. Police found numerous items, including shoes and electronics, that may help them determine who attacked the actor. Both of the men were reportedly extras who appeared on Empire and are of Nigerian descent.
Their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, confirmed that they appeared on the show and knew Smollett, but denied that they were involved in the attack.
“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.”
A relative of the two individuals confirmed that their home was raided on Wednesday night by police with a warrant. The relative says she was patted down by police and the two men were taken in for questioning, according to CBS 2 Chicago.
ABC7 contacted Chicago police, who said that they could not confirm the report and no charges were filed against any of the individuals being investigated.
“Media reports of investigative details cannot be confirmed at this time,” Guglielmi said.
He later made a statement via Twitter contradicting the report.
Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 15, 2019
The openly gay actor says he was attacked in the early morning on January 29 by two masked men, as the Inquisitr previously reported. The Empire star was taken to the hospital after the two men placed a noose around his neck and poured liquid on him that he says smelled like bleach.
The following day, police released a video showing two people who were in the area when the attack occurred. Smollett said that he was confident that the two individuals were the people who attacked him. While speaking with Good Morning America, he also said that he was angry that people doubted the authenticity of his report.
“For me, when that was released, I was like, ‘O.K., we’re getting somewhere.'” he said. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”
Smollett has faced doubt about the authenticity of the attack, with some people suggesting that the absence of security footage exposed the actor’s story. As the Inquisitr reported, Smollett has also been criticized for failing to turn over sufficient evidence to police. The actor maintains that the events occurred as he reported them.