Transcript for Police want to speak to Jussie Smollett again regarding alleged attack
We’re going to start here with the major new developments overnight in the reported attack by jussie smollett. Police say they urgently want to speak with the “Empire” star. Sources telling ABC news police are investigating if the actor made up the whole story. All of this as officials say new information from the brothers who were interrogated in the case shifted the trajectory of their investigation. ABC’s erielle reshef joins us with smollett’s reaction to all of this. Erielle, good morning. Reporter: Good morning. Smollett is doubling down on his story, and now the seismic shift in this investigation threatening to derail the account of what happened on that freezing night in Chicago. In a bombshell turn, Chicago police now investigating whether “Empire” star jussie smollett may have orchestrated a hoax, enlisting two men to purchase a noose and stage a vicious homophobic assault. Then I looked down and I see that there was a rope around my neck. Reporter: Police telling ABC news they want to talk to smollett urgently after interrogating and releasing the two brothers seen in this grainy surveillance footage. Saying, we have been in touch with smollett’s attorneys. We made our intentions clear. According to sources, the men were confronted with evidence they bought the rope around smollett’s neck, agreeing to cooperate once threatened with battery and hate crime charges. Did jussie smollett set this up? There is still a lot of moving parts to this. So I am here for my clients and I had a job to do specifically for them. I’m not part of jussie’s defense. Reporter: Confirming they have a relationship with smollett. One of them appearing as an extra on “Empire.” Detectives telling ABC news they have not found video evidence placing anyone else at the scene. I think that what people need to hear is just the truth. Reporter: Overnight, smollett’s attorneys releasing a statement that reads in part, 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. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. The entire story originating January 22nd. Smollett reporting he received a threatening letter with a white powder at the fox studio. January 29th, the actor claiming he was brutally beaten in a Chicago alley around 2:00 A.M. By two masked assailants who tied a noose around his neck, shouting derogatory slurs before dousing him with a bleach-like chemical. In a follow-up interview with police, smollett saying the attackers yelled Maga country, in reference to the make America great again slogan. The actor defiant, blasting those casting doubt on his story. Who the Would make something like this up or add something to it or — or whatever it may be. I can’t — I can’t even — I’m an advocate. Reporter: Smollett and his attorney say they anticipate being further updated on the investigation and will continue to cooperate with Chicago police. They also say they will continue to communicate with authorities through official channels and won’t respond to, quote, unnamed sources inside the investigation, guys. Erielle, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.
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