The Chicago police urgently want to speak with Jussie Smollett again about the alleged assault against the Empire star late last month and his possible involvement on what happened on the Windy City streets, but that ain’t happening today.
“There are no plans for Jussie Smollett to meet with Chicago police today,” reps for the actor said this Presidents Day morning. “Any news reports suggesting otherwise are inaccurate,” they added in what has become an increasing game of defense for the actor who plays the gay Jamal Lyon on the Fox drama.
The widely condemned attack on Smollett in the early hours of January 29 was previously described as a racist and homophobic barrage that left the actor beaten, drenched in bleach and with a rope slung around his neck.
“Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf,” Smollett’s PR team declared in very PR language with a pass to attorneys Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, who said in recent days that the actor will “continue to cooperate” with the investigation. “We have no further comment today.”
After an outpouring of support for Smollett in the hours and days following the attack, the probe and public perception has shifted dramatically in the last few days.
While the Empire star is still not officially considered a formal suspect by the CPD and talk of him self staging the assault remain officially unconfirmed, the cops are eager, to put it mildly, to learn more from him about his 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.
The Osundario siblings – both former Empire extras and at least one a former personal trainer for Smollett – are now “fully” cooperating with authorities on the probe into the attack of almost three weeks ago.
Smollett’s defense lawyers put out a seething statement on February 16 that the actor “has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack.” They added bluntly, “nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Yet, a law enforcement source told Deadline on February 17 that they have a “sense of frustration” over the lack of formal response for a further sit-down to go over new evidence that has come to light on the matter.
A sense of frustration that is growing.