Word is breaking that the Jussie Smollett case, in which the actor alleges he was attacked by Trump supporting assailants in a hate crime, is slowly crumbling as police investigators are seeking information from “persons of interest” who they believe may know something about the incident.
Smollett is also being re-questioned. The twist: According to reports, Smollett may know the men involved in the altercation.
The persons of interest were arrested at O’Hare airport on Wednesday night, police said.
Smollett said in an interview aired on Good Morning America today that he believed the two persons of interest seen in the CPD images were the persons who attacked him. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”
TMZ reported that the persons of interest are an actor who has appeared with Smollett on Fox television’s Empire and a person who was traveling with the second actor. These individuals are believed to be the “potential persons of interest” who were seen in low-quality images released by Chicago police days after the alleged attack, according to a police spokesperson.
TMZ also reported that police used “rideshare and/or taxicab records” to identify the “persons of interest” and to track their movements on the night of the purported attack.
CWB Chicago reports a tip they received a week ago that the identities of the men on camera, the same men Smollett identified as his attackers, were already known to police before Smollett fingered them.
Smollett had also turned over phone records on a spreadsheet, with several numbers deleted, that police then compared to a full list of phone records. They were then able to identify numbers of interest based on what Smollett had deleted.
A source familiar with the records provided by the Empire star states that Smollett downloaded his phone activity into a spreadsheet and then deleted certain phone calls before handing over the records. “He did the [detectives’] job for them because then they only had to focus on the numbers he deleted.”
Mediaite’s John Zeigler reports another as-yet-uncorroborated piece of information he says was gleaned from insiders working the case:
Current behind the scenes CW from those involved in the Jussie Smollett case:
Smollett got into fight with a man he was dating & cheated on, and a friend of that lover. He then concocted the MAGA/Hate-crime cover story & fingered them on GMA, unaware the police knew who they are
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) February 14, 2019
BREAKING:Police raided the home of two persons of interest in Jussie Smollett case last night. Both men are of Nigerian decent and have appeared as extras on the show. Police took bleach, shoes electronics and more.Officers asked family if they knew #Jussiesmollett. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/PDSFtf5jwb
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019