Chicago Police: Jussie Smollett Assault Case Has 'Shifted'


Lawyers for Jussie Smollett have refuted claims that the Empire star orchestrated his own attack on January 29, as suggested by Saturday news reports and after the Chicago PD said the investigation was heading in a new direction.

The men, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who had been identified from surveillance video at the scene, were arrested Wednesday and held by police for two days.

According to Smollett's account, his assailants struck him in the face, draped a rope around his neck and doused him with an "unknown chemical substance" before fleeing.

Their statement came after sources told USA media that police believed he may have paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack on 29 January.

Earlier Friday, police department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement that detectives had "probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime".

Their note continued, "One of these purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video".

As Chicago police declare a significant shift in "the trajectory of the investigation" of the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett almost three weeks ago, the attorneys for the Empire star has come out swinging tonight in his defense.

On Saturday, TMZ reported that cast and crew of Empire said the two men do not even fit the profile of racists and homophobes.

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Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Ola and Abel said that the two brothers are "baffled" as to why they're being considered suspects, while noting that they're familiar with Smollett by way of sharing the same gym.

According to local media, one of the brothers had appeared as an extra on Empire.

Sources have told CNN that the two men are now cooperating with police. The alleged attackers were reportedly yelling racial and homophobic slurs while they were assaulting him.

Chicago police are hoping to speak with Jussie Smollett again, after the investigation into the alleged attack against the Empire actor shifted over the weekend.

Upon their return, they were detained at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport by police.

Smollett, who is also a musician, gave an emotional speech during a February 2 concert in West Hollywood, California, saying he went ahead with the show because he couldn't let his attackers win. None of the allegations have been confirmed and Smollett has vehemently denied all claims against him.

"I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative", he said.

In a statement to Essence earlier this month, Smollett said, "I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. At this present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to "unnamed" sources inside the investigation, but will continue discussion through official channels." .

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