This story has been updated with the complete statement from Jussie Smollett's legal team.
The Chicago Police Department has confirmed its interest in interviewing Empire star Jussie Smollett again, following unconfirmed reports that two suspects apprehended by authorities in connection with his attack claimed to have been paid to participate in a hoax.
In a statement to TV Guide, Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, "While we are not in a position to comment, confirm or deny what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in the investigation and we are now interested in speaking to the Empire cast member again. We have been in touch with his attorney and made that request."
CNN and other outlets previously cited law enforcement sources who claimed Smollett is now suspected of paying two men who were involved in the alleged attack on the actor, which occurred Jan. 29. The reports emerged following the arrest and subsequent release of two men, who are brothers, who were allegedly connected to the incident.
Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, condemned the reporting in a statement obtained by TV Guide, saying, "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. One of these purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity."
The statement continued, "Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to 'unnamed' sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels."
Twentieth Century Fox Television, which produces Empire, declined to comment on the reports when reached by TV Guide.
The New York Times reports that the brothers, named Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were detained after arriving on a flight from Nigeria, and their home was raided by police. According to CBS Chicago, several items were seized in the raid, including a script from Empire. One of the brothers had worked as an extra on Empire, and their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, confirmed to the Times that they both knew Smollett.
On Thursday, 20th Century Fox Television addressed reports that the alleged attack against the actor had been staged with Smollett's involvement after he discovered he was to be written off Empire. In a statement, the studio denied any plans to write the actor off the Fox drama, saying, "The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him." Chicago P.D.'s rep also denied those initial reports.
A representative for Smollett told TV Guide Thursday evening that the actor was cooperating with the police investigation. In a statement to Essence earlier this month, Smollett said, "I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. "
Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.
Additional reporting by Kelly Connolly