Transcript for New allegation surfaces that Jussie Smollett staged his own attack: Source
Good evening. Thanks for joining us on this Sunday. I'm Tom llamas. We begin with the seismic shift in the investigation into the alleged attack against jussie smollett. A law enforcement official telling ABC news two men claim smollett paid them to stage the attack. Authorities with new evidence after questioning the two men. They are brothers and both know the actor. Smollett releasing a statement, fiercely denying the claims. Authorities urgently asking to speak with him. Here's erielle reshef. Reporter: Tonight, police telling ABC news the two brothers seen in this surveillance video claim "Empire" star jussie smollett paid them to carry out a fabricated homophobic attack. Sources say detectives are actively investigating that allegation. Who the Would make something like this up, or add something to it, or -- or whatever it may be? I can't -- I can't even -- I'm an advocate. Reporter: Now smollett doubling down on his story as police probe whether he staged a hoax. The actor's criminal defense attorney saying in a statement, "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation," smollett is "Angered and devastated" by the suggestion he was involved in the alleged attack. "Nothing is further from the truth, and anyone claiming otherwise is lying." I'm -- off. What is it that has you so angry? Is it the attackers? It's the attackers. But it's also the attacks. Reporter: Chicago police saying they urgently want to talk to smollett, now waiting to hear back from his attorneys. Investigators also combing through phone records to see whether the brothers spoke to smollett the night of the alleged incident. They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I'm sorry. But I'm not gonna do that. Why? Because I have private pictures and videos and numbers. Reporter: The brothers now said to be cooperating with police after being confronted with evidence they bought the rope found around smollett's neck. Authorities confirming they had a previous relationship with smollett. The star telling our robin Roberts earlier this week he was sure the men in that shadowy video were his attackers. I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. Never did. Reporter: But now, in that statement, smollett's attorneys saying one of the brothers was his personal trainer, claiming, "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." If the attackers are never found, how will you be able to heal? I don't know. Let's just hope that they are. You know what I'm saying? Let's -- let's not go there yet. Erielle, authorities still want to talk to smollett. That hasn't happened yet. And if he's convicted, he could face serious prison time? Yes, he could face charges for filing a false police report, that's a felony in Illinois, with a punishment of up to three years in prison. But again, the case is still being investigated.
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