Two brothers taken into police custody in connection with Jussie Smollett's hate attack
Two Nigerian brothers have been taken into custody as “potential suspects” in the ongoing investigation into “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged racist and homophobic hate attack, says the Chicago Police Department.
According to The Guardian, the Department spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi, confirmed on Friday that two Nigerian brothers had been arrested in connection with the investigation.
One of the brothers is said to have worked on the set of “Empire,” and the police believe there was “probable cause” that both men may have engaged in a crime, though no indication was given as to the nature of that possible offense.
The brothers were arrested on Wednesday at the O’Hare airport where they had just flown in from Nigeria.
The cops also raided their home on Thursday and seized various items such as a black face mask hat, an Empire script, a phone, receipts, five bottles of bleach, and two laptops.
This latest development comes on the heels of Smollett’s first interview since the January 29 attack that occurred around 2 am in Chicago.
The openly gay and black actor sat with ABC’s Robin Roberts for an interview that aired on “Good Morning America” on Thursday where he opened up in person for the first time.
Guglielmi also took to Twitter to refute reports that the police were investigating whether the attack was staged.
“I heard ‘Empire,' and I don’t answer to 'Empire.' My name ain’t 'Empire,' and I didn’t answer," Smollett said, describing the assault that took place while he was on a food run.
The 36-year-old continued:
"And I see the attacker, masked and he said, 'This MAGA country, [N-word].' Punches me right in the face. So I punched his [expletive] back. And then we started tussling and it was very icy. We ended up tussling by the stairs. …There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back, and then it just stopped. And they ran off.”
Smollett also realized after his assailants had run off that there was a rope around his neck.
So far, the actor has received an outpouring of support but has also had to deal with skeptics who claim he made up the story.
He especially came under fire when it became known that he refused to turn in his phone records to help the police with their investigation, and when he eventually did, they were heavily redacted.
According to Smollett, the phone records were redacted “to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”
The same day Smollett’s interview aired, Guglielmi also took to Twitter to refute reports that the police were investigating whether the attack was staged.
“Media reports anout [sic] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” Guglielmi tweeted. “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.”
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