Chicago police spoke with a neighbor who says he saw Jussie Smollett in an elevator with the 2 Nigerian brothers who allegedly conspired with the Empire star to fake a homophobic attack.
Smollett told police he was attacked by 2 Trump supporters who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, punched him, poured a caustic fluid on him and tied a noose around his neck on Jan. 29.
The man, who lives in Smollett's high-rise building in Chicago, called police on Tuesday to say he saw Smollett in an elevator with Abel and Ola Osundairo on the same night as the alleged attack last month. Police have acquired surveillance video from the elevator in the secured building.
"Detectives are following up this morning, making contact with that individual," Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said. Guglielmi said it was unclear if the man saw Mr. Smollett with the brothers before or after the incident.
The brothers told police Smollett paid them $7,000 to help him stage the hoax hate crime. They flew to Nigeria later that same day. They said he promised them an additional $500 when they returned to the US.
They were positively identified as the two shadowy figures seen in a surveillance video near where Smollett claimed he was attacked.
High-powered attorney Michael Monico, who represents Michael Cohen, says he no longer represents Smollett. The actor retained 2 new lawyers who released a statement on Saturday denying he staged the attack on himself.
According to The Blast, Smollett is in talks with Colin Kaepernick's attorney, Mark Geragos, who recently settled Kaepernick's NFL collusion case for $80 million.
Geragos, who is based in California, is used to dealing with the media and he often secures favorable outcomes for his troubled clients.
Smollett also hired a crisis management firm owned by Anne Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh offers crisis management along with publicity services.
Kavanaugh issued a statement on Monday saying the actor would not sit down with detectives any time soon, but his legal team will keep the line of communications open with investigators.
Meanwhile, Empire scriptwriters have cut scenes featuring Smollett from the final episodes of season 5.
Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV