Things may be moving towards some sort of formal prosecution in the Jussie Smollett alleged attack case but Chicago PD have yet to have a new sit-down with the Empire actor as more “developments” come to the surface.
As rumors swirl of a Grand Jury being convened soon on what was once classified as a “potential hate crime” on January 29, the Windy City cops said Sunday that they “cannot confirm any details as the investigation is still on-going.” However, a well-placed law enforcement source tells Deadline that despite emerging and complicating evidence and requests for a further formal interview, Smollett has not made himself available “in a timely fashion” to investigators.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and a sense of frustration with the response by Smollett and his lawyers,” the source stated.
Amidst signs that Smollett himself has become the subject of deeper inquiry into the supposed assault that occurred in the early hours of January 29, detectives want to know more about the actor’s version of what happened that day on the streets of Chicago and any possible “pre-knowledge” he may have had, says the law enforcement source of the incident.
The widely condemned attack was previously described as a racist and homophobic barrage that left Smollett beaten, drenched in bleach and with a rope slung around his neck.
The performer who portrays the openly gay Jamal Lyon on the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong co-created Fox series, now in its fifth season, had an initial interview with police a few hours after the alleged attack late last month.
While Smollett is not considered a formal suspect currently, authorities additionally are seeking to learn more about his private relationship with Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo.
The brothers were previously described by Chicago police as “potential suspects” in the attack and arrested last week. Identified as the individuals in the photos of “persons of interest” in the Smollett case, the two were held without charge for 48 hours and then let go on the night of February 15.
Formerly Empire extras and more recently, at least one of the brothers has been Smollet’s personal trainer, the Osundario siblings are now “fully” cooperating with authorities into the probe into the assault of almost three weeks ago, I hear.
In that vein, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi took to social media today, pulling focus onto Smollett:
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. pic.twitter.com/b9GgXbSUt9
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 17, 2019
Subsequent to strongly denied suggestions by local media that the attack was staged because Smollett was being written off the Chicago filmed Empire, the Osundairos have been identified as having purchased rope very similar to the type slung over Smollett’s neck from a local hardware shop in recent days.
Later yesterday, the Chicago PD’s Guglielmi said “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.” He went on to add “we’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
“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.” Smollett’s newly hired Chicago defense lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson proclaimed later last night. “Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate,” the attorneys also said.
Speaking on camera with Good Morning America on February 14 in his first interview since whatever happened on January 29, Smollett bluntly said he thought the attack occurred because of his high profile criticism of President Donald Trump and his policies. “I come really, really hard against 45,” the actor told GMA co-host Robin Roberts. “I come really, really hard against his administration, and I don’t hold my tongue.”
“Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible,”remarks circulated by Smollett’s representatives on February 12 claimed. “Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim,” the statement stated.
Everything has become a little less clear since, clearly.
Reps and lawyers for Smollett did not respond to requests for comment this afternoon on the increasingly ever more controversial case.
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