News out of Chicago states that the terrain of the alleged assault on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, has yet again morphed and shifted. Earlier reports by Smollett himself said that on January 29th, who men allegedly attached the actor, spouting homophobic and racial based slurs. The actor also stated that bleach was poured on his person, and a noose placed around his neck.
From the first report, the Chicago Police continually stated they were treating Smollett as a victim. However, it would seem that the investigation has done a complete 360-degree shift just within the last 24 hours.
Chicago law enforcement spokesman Anthony Guglielmi stated: “We can confirm that the information received from the individual’s questions by police earlier in the “Empire” case has, in fact, shifted the trajectory of the investigation.”
The shift in the investigation came with the arrest Wednesday night of two Nigerian brothers, who was held by law enforcement and questioned over the course of two days. One of the suspects had worked previously as an extra on “Empire,” as well as both men having knowledge of Smollett from the show.
Local media reports state that the detained brothers were presented with evidence that showed that they were the ones that indeed bought the rope, that was allegedly used by the attackers, was purchased at a local Ace hardware store. As a result, both brothers are reported to have been released from custody on Friday and are said to be cooperating with law enforcement.
Saturday, the morning after the brother’s release, CNN reported that investigators are working on the information obtained thus far, pointing to the fact that Smollett may have paid the men in question to attack him. Although CNN released the report, they stated that the information had been cited by two unnamed sources in the law enforcement working in the investigation.
Representatives for Smollett have commented on the allegations that the attack was staged, possibly by Smollett himself, as “ridiculous.” Fox, the studio that produces “Empire,” have to this point stood behind Smollett.
Up until the latest announcement, law enforcement had been proceeding with the investigation as a possible hate crime. However, in the last month, the landscape of the ongoing investigation continues to change, with new information arising each and every day.
If this were indeed a staged attack, funded by Smollett himself, it will be interesting to see how Chicago law enforcement will choose to proceed with the information obtained from their investigations.