Police can’t confirm tip that Jussie Smollett was in elevator with two brothers on night of reported attack
‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett claims he was attacked by two masked men shouting homophobic and racial slurs; Matt Finn reports from Chicago.
CHICAGO – Police are working to get "Empire" star Jussie Smollett’s case in front of a grand jury, Chicago law enforcement sources tell Fox News.
Smollett reported that on Jan. 29 he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway restaurant. He claimed that the men shouted racist and anti-gay slurs at him, poured a chemical substance on him, threw a rope around his neck and shouted, "This is MAGA country!"
Two brothers — Ola and Abel Osundairo — were arrested and released without charges in relation to the incident and were set to have their testimony “locked in” before a grand jury, meaning it would be officially documented. But Smollett’s legal team presented information to prosecutors that delayed the brothers' testimony, the sources say.
"The two brothers involved in this incident were at a Chicago courthouse meeting with detectives and prosecutors. They did not get seated before a grand jury," the Chicago Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.
'EMPIRE' STAR JUSSIE SMOLLETT RECOUNTS ALLEGED HATE ATTACK AS POLICE IDENTIFY PERSONS OF INTEREST
Chicago police have acknowledged to Fox News that presenting Smollett’s case to a grand jury or prosecutors is an option the department can pursue. They say they’re giving Smollett a “responsible” amount of time to respond to the department's request for a follow-up interview.
CELEBRITY JUSSIE SMOLLETT SUPPORTERS GRAPPLE WITH HOAX ALLEGATIONS
A Smollett rep told Fox News that Smollett did not talk to Chicago police on Monday or Tuesday.
Police earlier said that the "trajectory of the investigation" shifted and that they wanted to conduct another interview with Smollett about the alleged hate crime last month. Police released the two brothers who were held for questioning about the reported attack. They were released late Friday without charges.
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” the brothers later said in a statement to CBS News.
POLITICIANS WHO JUMPED ON JUSSIE SMOLLETT ALLEGATIONS IN AN AWKWARD SPOT
The men were arrested Wednesday night after investigators tracked their movement on surveillance cameras in the area where Smollett said the attack occurred.
Police have said they were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and initially considered Smollett a victim. A Chicago police spokesperson on Saturday said Smollett is no longer considered a victim in the case.
POLICE: INVESTIGATION INTO JUSSIE SMOLLETT ATTACK HAS 'SHIFTED'
Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, vehemently denied that the attack was a hoax, telling reporters, "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."
KAMALA HARRIS GIVES AWKWARD RESPONSE WHEN ASKED ABOUT ALLEGED JUSSIE SMOLLETT HATE ATTACK HOAX
"One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer, who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity," the statement continued.
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"Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate," Henderson and Pugh concluded. "At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to “unnamed” sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels."
Fox News' Louis Casiano and Michael Tobin contributed to this report.
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