Jussie Smollett's siblings defend 'Empire' actor, blast media as 'irresponsible'

Jussie Smollett's siblings defend 'Empire' actor, blast media as 'irresponsible'

Jussie Smollett's siblings defend 'Empire' actor, blast media as 'irresponsible'

Smollett's family issued a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime.

News of Jussie's past criminal history comes amid reports the 36-year-old actor orchestrated an attack on himself late last month.

The two brothers, who are also black, were taken into custody February 13 after detectives tracked their movements on surveillance cameras on a quiet Streeterville street east of Michigan Avenue, where Smollett says the attack took place.

According to CNN, Chicago police said that a threatening letter addressed to Smollett was received on January 22 at Chicago's Cinespace Studios, where "Empire" is filmed. One of the brothers had made an on-screen appearance on Empire during the show's second season. The men were released from custody without charges and police later requested another interview with Smollett.

The 4 1/2-minute clip was obtained by Chicago's CBS 2 TV station, with reporter Charlie De Mar tweeting that sources told him Smollett told brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo "what to buy". "Detectives have some follow-ups to complete, which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident", police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says.

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles, on May 20, 2016.

But numerous local media outlets began reporting that investigators had doubts about the actor's claims, particularly after the two men - brothers who were known to Smollett - were released without charge.

Yesterday, after Cook County state's attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case, the Osundairos and their lawyer Gloria Schmidt met again with police and other law enforcement officials. "Police really want to talk to the actor and they want to continue talking to these brothers to see how they can put the storyline together".

Chicago police said Smollett is no longer considered a victim in the case, but he's also not a suspect. The "Empire" actor will now be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

On Monday, Anne Kavanaugh with Media Pros 24/7, a firm representing Smollett, released a statement saying in part, "Smollett's attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf".

Guglielmi says police haven't confirmed the person's account. Smollett stands accused of making up the details of an alleged hate-crime attack that ended with him having a noose placed around his neck and seeking medical attention.

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