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The saga surrounding the alleged hate crime attack against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett took a dramatic turn on Thursday amid multiple reports that Chicago police took two “persons of interest” into questioning, including one man who reportedly worked with Smollett as an actor on “Empire.”

A Chicago ABC affiliate and CBS Chicago reported Thursday evening that sources close to the case said police are investigating whether Smollett and the two persons of interest potentially “staged the attack.”

“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,'” ABC7 reported Thursday evening.

“Police are investigating whether the two individuals committed the attack — or whether the attack happened at all,” Chicago police told ABC, the outlet reported in an update to its original report. Citing a source familiar with the investigation, ABC says that Smollett also “failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday, but has since spoken with police.”

CBS Chicago also reports that sources say police are investigating if the alleged attack was “potentially staged” by the “non-cooperating” persons of interest and the actor. “Investigators believe Jussie Smollett and the non-cooperating witnesses in the alleged attack of Smollett last month ‘potentially staged the attack,’ sources tell CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards,” the outlet reports.

Earlier Thursday, multiple outlets, including The Chicago Tribune, reported that police had confirmed that they detained two persons of interest at O’Hare International Airport for questioning about their potential involvement in the case Wednesday night. One of the men reportedly appeared on “Empire,” ABC News confirmed.

According to ABC, law enforcement officials say the homes of the two persons of interest were raided Wednesday night, noting that officials “removed shoes, electronic devices and other items they believe could help them determine if the two people played any role in the assault from those homes.”

The outlet stresses that Chicago police told them they “cannot confirm any of those reports” and that no charges have been filed. In an update posted Thursday night, ABC reports that Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson contacted the outlet to clarify that the department is “continuing to treat Smollett as a victim and the investigation remains ongoing.”

In response to ABC’s initial report, Smollett’s representatives issued a statement saying the actor “did answer routine followup questions for Chicago Police Department and continues to cooperate” and that he is not being written off “Empire.” The outlet reports that Fox has also denied the “patently ridiculous” claim, stating, “He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”

Thursday evening, CBS Chicago’s Charlie De Mar provided more details about the persons of interest and the Wednesday night raid. He also quoted a “top source” as saying, “We [investigators] believe the non-cooperating 2 witnesses are co-conspirators in a potentially staged attack.”

Smollett, a 36-year-old openly gay African American singer and actor, told police that he was brutally attacked at around 2 a.m. on January 29 while walking home from Subway in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. According to Smollett, the two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with an unknown chemical (believed to be bleach), assaulted him, and put a rope around his neck. Along with allegedly calling him “n***er” and “f***ot,” he says they yelled, “This is MAGA country!”

But by the end of the first week of the investigation, police revealed that all available surveillance footage failed to show the attack. One piece of evidence emerged: a grainy image of two men dressed in dark clothing that Smollett said in an interview with “Good Morning America” Thursday were the two men.

Using the surveillance photos and, according to TMZ, “rideshare and/or taxicab records,” police say they were able to identify the two persons of interest and track them the night of the alleged attack.

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  1. Proud vet

    February 15, 2019 at 1:08 am

    I smelled the communist a.k.a. Democrat party’s fingerprints all over this as I did from the very beginning. Here you go folks good example of they create the problem so they can sell you the antidote which is them the problem creators to start with is everything that’s happened in America that they squeal and whine about that has been committed minimally but exploded into maximally, to put more rules and regulations on you to people.

  2. RAY SAY

    February 15, 2019 at 1:34 am

    A Fake Crime, reported by a Fake Network, started by an Actor; yup sounds real to me ; )

  3. Linda

    February 15, 2019 at 2:40 am

    Being written off the show huh? The plot thickens. Reporting a false crime should be punishable by time out in prison.

  4. N

    February 15, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Liberalism,LGBT,PC are mental disorders and Pelosi,Behar,Hillary,Waters,Shepard,lemon,Ocasio are just some of the poster girls in the godless deranged Satanist NAZI Commie Demoncrat party! Stop these traitors from turning the US into another shit hole!

  5. stephen winters

    February 15, 2019 at 9:20 am

    got you,little bitch…jail time…………

  6. MissD

    February 15, 2019 at 10:42 am

    I knew it ! Liberal gay black … lock his gay ass up!

  7. Sleroangel

    February 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Just example of how low these Hollywood Democrats will go.. Lie, lie, lie just to try to make it look like MEGA attack.. Grow the hell up I haven’t believed this bogus accusation from the get go. He is looking for attention or something. Pretty sad when you have to make up a dam story and blame MEGA people Really Get a life. Playing a dam victim of a crime that never happened. You are such a looser. Who is controlling your puppet strings?

  8. Joseph A Midona

    February 15, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    I called BULL SHIT from the get go !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. MarieAnna Davorak

    February 15, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    If he is a man of ego, then it wouldn’t surprise me that it was his revenge for people not taking kindly his extremely nasty tweet. I read it about 2 days before the incident happened and also left a comment that if he wants to save the world (as his profile says), he must save himself first.

  10. Roni Reilly

    February 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Funny, he got attacked after getting a sandwich at Subway and when he entered his building, after said attack, he still had his sandwich. Must’ve been a hell of a fight to protect that sandwich.

  11. Shari Early

    February 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    As soon as they added Maga hat and saying maga country in Chicago I knew it was fake news… again.

  12. richard smith

    February 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    This Fag obviously needs more drama in his life. He’s lying and just got drunk one night and cooked this up with a couple of his queer buddies, nothing to see here.

  13. Polly

    February 15, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Out the three in jail for 15 years

  14. Grace Joy

    February 15, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Even if he actually WAS beaten up (so lightly), how did he ID two Nigerians (dark skinned) as white guys calling him “nigr,” & “this is MAGA country?”

  15. Ahzz

    February 16, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Just another useless, lying “Drama Queenie ~ Peter-Puffer.”

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