Yesterday (February 14th), police confirmed that were talking to two persons of interest in connection with the Jussie Smollett attack. Mutliple sources told ABC 7 Chicago that the two men were taken into custody for questioning yesterday because cops are investigating whether the two men, along with Jussie staged an attack -- because the actor was being written off of Emoire.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the investigation told the news that the actor failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday (February 14th) but he had since spoken to the cops.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the news that they are continuing to treat Smollett as a victim and the investigation remains ongoing.
Chicago police told the news station, "Police are investigating whether the two individuals committed the attack - or whether the attack happened at all."
Smollett released a statement Thursday night (February 14th), saying, "Today Jussie did answer routine followup questions for Chicago Police Department and continues to cooperate." His rep and FOX both denied that he staged the attack and that he was being written off of Empire.
Meanwhile, TMZ reported that the homes of the two men were raided on Wednesday night (February 13th). Cops removed shoes, 5 bottles of bleach, electronic devices and other items they believe could help them determine if the two people played any role in the assault. Both men are Nigerian and were extras on Empire. It appears that these are the same men who were captured on the surveillance video.
The family of the two men said that they left for Nigeria the day of the alleged attack and returned on Wednesday night (February 13th) and cops tracked their travels and were waiting for them when they landed.
At press time, the Chicago Police department came forward and denied reports that investigators believe the attack was staged.JUSSIE OPENS UP ABOUT ATTACK ON 'GMA' Meanwhile, in an interview with Goodmorning America that aired yesterday morning, Jussie opened up for the first time about the racist and homophobic attack against him in Chicago late last month. The Empire star told Robin Roberts that he landed in Chicago to shoot the hit show early in the morning on January 29th and decided to get food at Subway -- and that's when he was attacked. Jussie also discussed his doubters, who don't believe that his attackers yelled out "This is MAGA country," saying, "I didn't need to add anything like that. They called me a f*****, they called me a n*****. There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae." Jussie also confirmed that the men in the surveillance photo released by cops are indeed the men that attacked him.
Clip 1 - Jussie Smollett explains what happened during attack in Chicago:
- "As I was crossing the intersection I heard 'Empire!' . . . I didn't answer, I kept walking. Then I heard, 'F*ggot Empire N*gger!' So I turned around and I said 'What the f*ck did you just say to me?' And I see the attacker . . . masked."
Clip 2 - Jussie Smollett explains what happened during attack in Chicago:
- "He said 'this MAGA country, n*gger' and punched me in the face. So I punched his a** back. And then we started tussling . . . there was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back. Then it just stopped and they ran off and I saw where they ran. . . . then I looked down and I see that there's a rope around my neck."
Clip 3 - Jussie says he is pissed because people don't believe him:
"I’m p*ssed off. . . . It's the attackers, but it’s also the attacks. At first it was the thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it because it’s the truth. Then it became a thing of, like, how can you doubt that? How can you not believe that? It’s the truth. And then it became a thing of.. 'Oh, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth. You don't even want to see the truth."
Clip 4 - Jussie on whether or not his attacker will ever be found:
"I don't know. Let's just hope that they are. . . . I was talking to friend and I said 'I just want them to find them.' And she said, 'Sweetie, they're not gonna find them.' And that just made me so angry. Because I'm just gonna be left here with this? . . . So, they get to go free and go about their life and possibly attack someone else and I'm left with the aftermath of this bull? That's not cool to me."
Clip 5 - Jussie says it was his attackers on the surveillance footage that was released:
"For me when that was released I was like 'Ok, we're getting somewhere. ' I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. Never did."AUDIO: CLIP 1 JUSSIE SMOLLETT EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED DURING ATTACK
AUDIO: CLIP 2 JUSSIE SMOLLETT EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED DURING ATTACK
AUDIO: JUSSIE SAYS HE COULD ID HIS ATTACKERS
AUDIO: JUSSIE SMOLLETT HOPES TO GET JUSTICE
AUDIO: JUSSIE SMOLLETT IS UPSET THAT PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE HE WAS ATTACKED