Attack of Jussie Smollett: new evidence has "altered the trajectory" of the investigation led by Jussie Smollett, 2 brothers cooperated



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CHICAGO –

Chicago police are "impatient" to talk again with the actor of "Empire" Jussie Smollett about his alleged attack after the arrest of two brothers related to the bombing who agreed to cooperate with the police, sources said Saturday night.

"We can confirm that the information received from people interviewed by the police earlier in the Empire case actually changed the direction of the investigation." We contacted the member's lawyer. distribution to request a follow-up interview, "said the president. Anthony Guglielmi, spokesperson for the Chicago Police.

On Friday night, two brothers detained as people of interest in the alleged Smollett attack were released without charge. They are not considered suspects.

The police will not say what is this new information, but sources confirm information that the brothers, who had a pre-existing relationship with Smollet, were paid by the actor to carry out the attack.

Two officials familiar with the Smollett investigation confirmed to ABC News that detectives had confronted the two brothers with the evidence that they had bought the rope found around Smollett's neck at a local hardware store. The two brothers agreed to cooperate with the police, who investigate whether Smollett invented the story after the police threatened to charge them with murder and hate crimes.

Guglielmi said that they had contacted Smollett's lawyers Friday night. "We have clearly stated our intentions," he said.

On Saturday afternoon, Smollett's lawyers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued a statement in which they said the actor might have organized the attack.

"As a victim of a hate crime that has collaborated in the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is irritated and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are people with whom he is familiar He was further victim of acts attributed to those alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack, nothing is further from the truth and whoever claims otherwise was lying.

"One of those suspects was Jussie's personal trainer whom he had hired to physically prepare him for a music video.It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime." committed against Jussie or falsely claiming the complicity of Jussie.

"Jussie and his lawyers anticipate that the Chicago Police Department will provide further information on the state of progress of the investigation and will continue to cooperate." At present, Jussie and his lawyers have no intention of reacting to the "anonymous" sources contained in the investigation, but will continue the discussions through the official channels ".

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Saturday night about the investigation.

QUESTED BROTHERS

The police seized the brothers' phones and checked their recordings as they went to investigate whether the men were in contact with Smollett on the night of the incident. The Chicago police did not immediately comment on the level of cooperation of the brothers, apart from the fact that they provided information to the police.

It was confirmed that these men were men seen on surveillance footage of the alleged incident site, January 29, in the Streeterville neighborhood. Chicago police told ABC News that the reason the men were on the scene is now at the center of the investigation. The question of whether men spoke to Smollett the night of the alleged attack is also at the center of the investigation, said CPD officials.

Guglielmi said on Friday: "Due to new evidence resulting from today's interrogations, those interviewed by police in the Empire case have now been released without charge and detectives still need to investigate."

Guglielmi said that individuals are no longer classified as suspects. Technically, they are always considered as people of interest because they can have more information.

The investigation remains in progress. The video evidence does not indicate that anyone else was present at the scene of the alleged incident.

The lawyer representing both men spoke Friday night after their release, claiming that she and the two men had provided new elements to the police during the investigation.

On Friday morning, Guglielmi said the two men had a relationship with Smollett. On Friday morning, the police claimed that the two men had been classified as suspects and that, at that time, the police thought they were involved in a crime.

Many sources told ABC7 Eyewitness News in Chicago that police were investigating whether Smollett and the two men had organized the attack, allegedly because Smollett was being removed from "Empire". ".

A source close to the investigation told ABC7 that Smollett did not appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday, but has since spoken to the police.

Chicago Police Commissioner Eddie Johnson contacted ABC7 to tell him that he continued to treat Smollett as a victim and that the investigation was continuing.

"The police are investigating whether the two individuals committed the attack or whether the attack occurred at all," Chicago police told ABC News.

Smollett released a statement Thursday night stating that, "Today, Jussie has responded to common follow-up questions for the Chicago Police Department and continues to cooperate."

The representatives of Smollett stated that it was not being written off of "Empire".

Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment issued a statement: "The idea that Jussie Smollett was or would be written off from EMPIRE is obviously ridiculous.He remains a vital player in this very successful series and we continue to support. "

An informed source of the Smollett investigation has confirmed to ABC News that the Chicago police are questioning the two men – one of them has appeared in "Empire".

The law enforcement official also told ABC News that the houses of the two men were raided Wednesday night. The police removed shoes, electronic devices and other items that could help them determine if both people were involved in the assault.

Neighbors have described a swarm of officers and K-9 units.

"I was walking down the alley.A police car stopped in the driveway and they told me to go back inside the house. maybe five minutes later, there were 20 policemen near the door, "said neighbor Jaime Figueroa. .

The neighbors said they believe these men are Nigerian brothers who grew up in this apartment and have been living there for years. The neighbors have described them as friends and perhaps bodybuilders, and have said they have long wanted to be actors.

The Chicago police said she "can not confirm any of these reports". No charges have been filed.

The police initially stated that the two people of interest are not suspects and have not been charged. The two men were recovered Wednesday night at the O. Hare International Airport, police said.

A lawyer who claimed to represent the two people of interest declined to comment on the case as she left the Central Region Police Headquarters.

Chicago police told ABC News that she was hounding the two people who interested her and knew about their identity "for a while". Chicago police told ABC News that they were cooperating and had been questioned all day.

Smollett stated that he was attacked around 2 am on January 29 in the 300 block of East North Water Street in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. He told the police that two masked men had shouted homophobic slurs, attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured a liquid that smelled like bleach.

On Thursday night, the police said the phone records provided by Smollett indicated that he was on the phone with his manager at the time of the attack. The two men told investigators that the Smollett assailants had shouted insults.

Smollett, 36, is black and openly gay.

RELATED: Jussie Smollett looks at the attack, after the message "Good Morning America": "I'm not weak"

Police said that they had not found any video surveillance showing the attack. But earlier in the survey, they released granular surveillance images of two people of possible interest. The photos show two silhouettes on New Street, near Illinois Street, between 1:30 am and 1:45 am on January 29th.

In a statement released on Thursday, police said they identified the two people in the surveillance photos and located them with the help of cameras, transit logs and corroborative information provided by Smollett.

RELATED: A bottle with a smell of bleach found near the site of Jussie Smollett's attack; The actor & # 39; Empire & # 39; submits telephone records

Smollett's was exclusively entertained with Robin Roberts at "Good Morning America" ​​on Thursday. He reflected on what happened to him that morning and what has happened to him since.

"These are the attackers, but also the attacks," he said, adding that it was not necessarily not to believe that it was the truth, you did not even want not see the truth. "

Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said Thursday morning that he had been watching the GMA interview with CPD's superintendent, Eddie Johnson. Guglielmi said that Smollett's comments on the GMA are consistent with what he told the Chicago police. Unfortunately, the police have no solid evidence to stop anyone at this time.

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