New claims of 'staged' Smollett attack, police investigate

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Published on 18 Feb 2019, 13:47
Chicago police were pursuing "additional detective work" Sunday amid suspicion that an attack on actor/singer Jussie Smollett may have been faked.

Two brothers told investigators they were paid by the "Empire" actor to stage the attack, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly. The person asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

"We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the 'Empire' case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement Saturday. “We've reached out to the 'Empire' cast member's attorney to request a follow-up interview."

On Sunday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted, "While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident."

Smollett’s attorneys issued a statement saying the actor would continue to cooperate with police but felt "victimized" by reports that he might have been involved in staging an attack.

"Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying," the statement from attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said.

USA TODAY has reached out Smollett's representatives for comment on the investigation.

Pamela Sharp, Smollett's spokeswoman, told the Associated Press on Sunday that she had no updates "as of now." Another representative, Anne Kavanagh, said she couldn't comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview.

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