On January 30, 2019, the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago police detectives collected footage from city and private cameras in the Streeterville neighborhood trying to gain leads on a report of a “possible racially-charged assault and battery” involving a star of the television show “Empire.”

Police said they had not made arrests in the reported attack on Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire.” Police say two people approached Smollett at about 2 a.m. Tuesday as he was walking in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street and got his attention by yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Smollett was hit and an unknown chemical substance was poured on him, according to police. A rope was wrapped around Smollett’s neck before the attackers fled the scene, police said.

News of the attack was first reported by TMZ.com and entertainment site ThatGrapeJuice.net.

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“Empire” co-creator Danny Strong tweeted, “I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against @JussieSmollett. He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart. The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live … whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come.”

Now, according to CBS Chicago, a source with intimate knowledge of the Jussie Smollett investigation tells CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards the attack on Smollett was potentially orchestrated by the actor himself and involved two other men.

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Chicago police call those reports “unconfirmed.”

The two “persons of interest” are brothers who worked on the Empire actor’s show.

The two brothers are now in police custody, being questioned in connection with the alleged staged, according to sources. Their attorney says they could be charged as early as Friday.

Following a police raid, the front door of their home is busted off its frame. Belongings are thrown across the living room. Bedroom doors are damaged and clothes tossed everywhere.

“They were actually detained at customs at O’Hare airport yesterday around 5:45 p.m.,” said their lawyer Gloria Schmidt. “They had no idea what was going on, and they’ve been detained since then.”

The brothers were returning from a trip to Nigeria, their attorney said. As they were picked up by police at O’Hare, officers were at their home, taking several items and leaving behind an inventory list of some of the items taken. The list includes a black face mask hat, an Empire script, a phone, receipts, a red hat and bleach.

“When they first learned about what happened to him they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that,” Schmidt said.

According to Schmidt, the men have worked as extras on Empire and go to the gym with Smollett on occasion.

“They are really baffled why they are people of interest,” she said. “They really don’t understand how they even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they are not guilty of it.”


This morning, Smollett appeared on Good Morning America, where the actor got teary eyed as he attempted to explain how he’s a role model for young gay and black kids of how to be strong in the face of unjust attacks.

Hmmm…it’s looking more and more like the Empire actor might need to be brave, because his career may over if the police find out he was lying about the “racially motivated” attack by two Black brothers from Nigeria.

What do you think? Do you believe Smollett, or do you think this is all a big coordinated hoax? Tell us in the comment section below.

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