Chicago police confirmed a pivot in the direction of their investigation after interviewing two Nigerian brothers, who were once suspects. "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," spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement to the press.
Two law enforcement sources also told CNN that CPD are now operating under the belief that Smollett paid the two brothers, who he knew from "Empire," to orchestrate an assault on him; however this has not been confirmed by law enforcement. Attorneys for Smollett claimed that the actor felt "victimized" by the various media reports suggesting he may have been involved in orchestrating his own attack.
"I gotta tell you this, this entire story is so shocking, it's just so crazy, I almost think it's an episode of 'Empire,'" guest cohost Ana Navarro said this morning. After pointing to Smollett's activism in both the LGBTQ and African-American communities, Naravvo added that, "assuming that this is a hoax,' the "plot twist is something that is so appalling." She also said she couldn't "think of anything that's more hurtful to real victims coming forward than somebody making up a story."
Abby Huntsman agreed with that last sentiment. "Do you know how hard it makes it to people that do experience real hate crimes" she asked, before wondering how Jussie could possibly "recover" if the allegations end up being true.
"I've interviewed him several times, he's a friend to the show. I tweeted out originally, my prayers for him, what is happening in our world," said Sunny Hostin. "Now, if this is true, I'm embarrassed to have believed him, to have supported him. I'm disgusted because I spent my entire career trying to protect victims and false reports are generally very low, somewhere between 2-10%, so how difficult is it going to be for the victims of a sex crime, a hate crime to come forward?"
Hostin added that if the developments do pan out, she hopes Smollett "gets counseling," before both she and Meghan McCain said the alleged hoax would be a huge loss to the Chicago Police Department's resources at a time they could be investigating other crimes.
"If this does in fact be true, it's a grave and intense waste of all of Chicago's resources," said McCain. "I also believe he is a sociopath if this ends up being the case."
We'll update this post with video of the full segment when it becomes available online.