Late Thursday afternoon, the Chicago Police Department officially named “Empire” star Jussie Smollett as a suspect in the alleged attack on himself.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi announced on Twitter, “Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
Smollett’s high-profile legal team continue to maintain that he’s innocent.
Late last month, the openly gay black actor claimed he was attacked in the middle of the night in Chicago by two white President Trump supporters who recognized him from “Empire,” shouted racist and anti-gay slurs at him, and yelled “This is MAGA country!” while physically assaulting him, pouring bleach on his head, and looping a rope around his neck. Numerous police sources have said that the actor staged the whole attack with two extras from his show.
The news that Smollett is now considered a suspect broke shortly after CBS Chicago reporter Charlie De Mar released surveillance footage of what appears to be the two extras — the Osundairo brothers — buying a ski mask and what looks like a red hat at a convenience store.
There have been inconsistent reports that Smollett said they were wearing red hats as well.
De Mar visited numerous stores to obtain footage of the brothers buying items possibly used in the attack, according to CBS Chicago.
According to police sources, the Osundairos were also linked to a rope purchase at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood, not far from Streeterville, the location of the alleged attack.
Fox 32 Chicago reporter Rafer Weigel said the brothers were seen entering a door marked “Grandy Jury” at the Cook County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
Also on Thursday, CBS Chicago reporter Brad Edwards released a statement from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who oddly recused herself from the Smollett investigation.
“Shortly after the incident occurred in late January, State’s Attorney Foxx had conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns, and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department who were investigating the incident,” the statement read. “Based on those prior conversations and out of an abundance of caution, last week State’s Attorney Foxx decided to remove herself from the decision making in this matter and delegated it to her First Assistant Joseph Magats, a 28-year veteran prosecutor.”