Elevator Tip Dismissed in Jussie Smollett Case

As Cook County prosecutor recuses herself from investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2019 2:40 PM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2019 2:03 AM CST
In this May 20, 2016 file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles.   (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Chicago police investigated but dismissed a tip that on the night Empire actor Jussie Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men he was in an elevator of his apartment building with two brothers later arrested and released from custody in the probe, a department spokesman said Tuesday. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a person who lives in the building or was visiting someone there reported seeing the three together the night in question last month. However, he said video evidence allowed investigators to determine the report wasn't credible, the AP reports. Guglielmi said the two brothers did meet with prosecutors and police Tuesday in a Chicago courthouse. There was no immediate information about what they discussed.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, poured a chemical on him, and looped a rope around his neck in the wee hours of Jan. 29. But last week, police announced that the "investigation had shifted" following interviews with the brothers and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. They have declined to comment on reports that the attack was a hoax. Smollett's lawyers have said the actor was angered and "victimized" by reports he may have played a role in staging the attack. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said Tuesday that she is recusing herself from the investigation. The statement from her office didn't indicate why she made the decision. (There are also new reports that Smollett allegedly paid $3,500 for the attack.)


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