ABC Sources: Police Investigating Jussie Smollet for Staging Attack; Police Cannot Confirm

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017 file photo, Jussie Smollett participates in the "Empire" panel during the FOX Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Smollett, an actor on the TV series "Empire," is also an R&B musician who performed Saturday night, …
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

According to a new report, Chicago police are investigating the possibility that actor Jussie Smollett worked with two men to stage an attack against him last month.

Jussie Smollett claimed to be the victim of an attack in downtown Chicago in January. The Empire actor said that two men in masks beat him, wrapped a rope around his neck, put a chemical on him and called him racial and homophobic slurs. He also said that the attackers yelled “This is MAGA country!”

Now, Chicago police have identified two persons of interest, both of whom are reportedly Nigerian and appeared on Empire as extras.

ABC7 Chicago reports:

Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of “Empire.”

A source familiar with the investigation told the ABC7 I-Team that Smollett failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday.

A source briefed on the Smollett investigation confirmed to ABC News that Chicago police are questioning the two persons of interest — one of whom has appeared on “Empire.”

Mere moments after the ABC report, the Chicago Police Department issued a firm refutation, saying, “Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”

“Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate,” the department’s spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday.

During a tearful interview that aired on Good Morning America Thursday, the 36-year-old actor said that he was “pissed off” at those who didn’t believe his story.

“It’s like, you know, at first it was a thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then, that’s it, because it’s the truth. Then it became a thing of, like, oh, how can you doubt that?” he said.

“Like, how can you not believe that? It’s the truth. Then it became a thing of, like, oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth. You don’t even want to see the truth.”

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