Lawyer: Brothers Don’t Know Why They’re ‘Persons of Interest’ in Reported Jussie Smollett Attack

The lawyer for the two men identified as persons of interest in the attack reported by Empire star Jussie Smollett told CBS News on Friday that her clients were “baffled” by their involvement in the investigation. “It’s an awful thing that happened to Jussie, but it’s not my guys,” said the lawyer, Gloria Schmidt. Schmidt said her two clients left for Nigeria the day Smollett said he was attacked, and that authorities detained them at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport upon their return. They are now being questioned. Schmidt added that the men are allegedly coworkers of Smollett, and that they spent time with him on set and worked out with him at the gym.

Schmidt’s statements add another level of confusion to an already-murky case. On Thursday, a CBS local affiliate reported the brothers’ home was raided, and investigators were said to have found bleach, a “black facemask hat,” and an Empire script. On the same day, sources told ABC and CBS affiliates the attack had been staged by Smollett and the two men. But a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department quickly noted on Twitter that “Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”