Lawyer for Men Questioned in Smollett Case Asked If Attack Was Staged: 'That Will Come Out...in Due Time'

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On the day after Chicago police released two men who had been questioned about the alleged attack on actor Jussie Smollett, Chicago police said they want to speak to the actor once again.

“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the #Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” the police tweeted.

That work includes interviewing Smollett, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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On Sunday, media accounts on CNN and Fox News, using unnamed sources, were reporting that police were no longer treating Smollett as a victim and were saying that the evidence they collected implied the attack on Smollett was staged.

Smollett’s attorneys fired back at those reports, Deadline reported.

“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,” said defense lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson in a statement.

“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack,” the statement said. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Do you believe Jussie Smollett's story?

Smollett, a gay, black actor who stars in the TV series “Empire,” has said that he was attacked at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 as he walked on the street near his apartment building. Smollett has said two men shouted racial and homophobic slurs as they struck him and wrapped a rope around his neck yelling, “This is MAGA country!”

The alleged attack provoked harsh condemnation on Twitter from entertainment and political circles.

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Gloria Schmidt, attorney for Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, spoke to the media Friday night after the brothers — who had been picked up by Wednesday and were reported as possible suspects in the case — were released by police. A video of her comments was posted to the site TMZ.

Asked if that attack was staged, Schmidt said, “There’s so many moving parts to this. That will come out, I think, in due time. I don’t want to speculate.”

Later, talking to reporters, she tried to make her clients’ position clear.

“My guys are walking home. They are not charged. They are not suspects in this case,” she said.

Schmidt added, “there’s still a lot of moving parts to this. … I’m not part of Jussie’s defense. I’m not part of what’s going on with him. I can just tell you that my guys (are) innocent of the charge and they’re going home.”

Meanwhile, the Chicago police confirmed that the “trajectory” of the investigation had changed.

“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,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “We’ve reached out to the ‘Empire’ cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

Asked about the evidence, Schmidt said, “Obviously, I had it. Obviously, my clients had it. But I think it took a matter of coordination.” She would not elaborate.

Police said that the two men were the men seen on surveillance videos of the night of the attack.

“Yes, they are confirmed to be the men on scene by surveillance video,” Chicago police said, WLS reported. “The reason why they were there is now central to the investigation and we can’t get into that at this time.”

On Thursday, Smollett was interviewed about the alleged attack on “Good Morning America.” He said the men in the surveillance video had to have been his attackers.

“’Cause … I was there,” he said. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
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Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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