Jussie Smollett is named a suspect by Chicago police in alleged attack

Surveillance video from inside a hardware store shows two brothers buying masks and hats that police believe were used during the alleged attack, authorities said.
2:24 | 02/21/19

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Transcript for Jussie Smollett is named a suspect by Chicago police in alleged attack
breang headline out of Chicago. Police there are now calling actor jussie smollett a suspect in a criminal investigation. They say he is under investigation for, quote, filing a false police report in that alleged hate crime. Smollett had claimed two men attacked him and had called him racist and homophobic names. Tonight, this new video just emerging, showing those two brothers buying supplies. Those two men say it was smollett who orchestrated the attack. ABC's Eva pilgrim leading us off. Reporter: Tonight, Chicago police are officially calling jussie smollett is suspect, under criminal investigation for allegedly filing a false police report. And grand jury, they say, is already hearing evidence. The stunning twist comes as the brothers at the center of that investigation are seen on surveillance buying a red hat and ski masks, items allegedly used in a phony attack, the men claim, they were paid to stage. After dying of pressing smollett for a followup interview, Chicago police today issuing a stark public warning. We got information and that's what we want to run by him. If the opportunity is not taken to come in, we're going to go with other methods to create a culture of accountability. Late today,smollett's attorney meeting with police and prosecutors. "Empire" is not going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an artist that would try to take us down. Repor"empire at actor has insisted he was the victim of an attack. How do you not believe that? It's the truth. Reporter: The FBI is already investigation whether smollett sent this threatening letter to himself a week before the attack. The return address said in big, red, you know, like, cams, "Maga." Did I make that up too? Reporter: His brother now defending him on Instagram blasting the media with a quote from macolm X. "It will make the criminal look like he's the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal." Smollett has allegedly lied to police in the past. Newly revealed court documents from 2007 show he was accused of impersonating his brother during a traffic stop where he was suspected of driving under the influence. He reportedly pleaded no contest to reduced charges and completed an alcohol treatment program. Eva pilgrim with us live tonight again from Chicago. I know this is fast-moving, Eva, but tonight, police and prosecutors are already presenting evidence to a grand jury? Reporter: That's right, David. While smollett's attorneys have been talking with the prosecutors and investigators today, the grand jury inside this courthouse is moving forward. Smollett could face up to a class four felony, which could mean jail time, David. Eva, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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