Smollett said last month that he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack. Initial reports said two noose-wielding men yelled ‘this is MAGA country’. Police say new evidence emerged in interrogations that requires investigation.
A grand jury is slated to hear the Jussie Smollett case next week, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation into the Empire actor’s alleged hoax attack.
Chicago police insiders told TMZ that authorities are keeping a close eye on two Nigerian brothers, who were arrested and questioned about the attack before being released on Friday, to make sure that Smollett doesn’t try to contact them.
Investigators have said they believe Smollett may have paid Empire extras Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo $3,500 to assault him in an orchestrated, rehearsed attack on January 29.
Sources say Smollett initially agreed to sign complaints against his assailants, but declined to do so once he heard that Abel and Ola were the men in custody because he knew them and felt bad for them.
Reports of a possible grand jury emerged hours after the Chicago Police Department said Smollett was not yet being considered an official suspect, despite insider claims to the contrary.
‘We have some information that needs to be corroborated and verified with the Empire cast member before we can answer this question,’ CPD said in a statement to TMZ.
‘After new developments, we’ve reached out to his attorney and requested additional time to interview him.’
Smollett has furiously denied claims that he orchestrated the assault and said ‘nothing could be further from the truth’.