New evidence provided to police during interrogations of the brothers - who are no longer considered suspects - "shifted the trajectory of the investigation" and has detectives wanting to question Smollett in a follow-up interview, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
The Nigerian-born bodybuilding siblings told cops that they rehearsed the "attack" against Smollett - and even scouted locations with him, TMZ reported on Monday, citing law enforcement sources.
Smollett's attorneys said Saturday that he would continue to cooperate with police but that he felt victimized by the suggestion he played a role in his attack. At least one of them allegedly had a mask, and they said, "This is MAGA county".
The Osundairo brothers were arrested Wednesday, the same day they returned from Nigeria, and identified as suspects - but then released Friday without charges.
The actor said he appreciated Trumps words, but added that he had no doubt that his assailants were motivated by his criticism of the president.
Variety said Smollett was not, in fact, being written out of the show, despite claims that was happening.
They said the attack was not meant to seriously hurt him.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett and HBO's John Oliver are the latest celebrity activists to be publicly mocked in Los Angeles by conservative artists.
Approximately one week before the attack, Smollett stated he received threatening letters that featured a hand-drawing stick figure with a gun pointed towards the head.
Guglielmi said on Sunday the interview had not yet been conducted.
Harris looked to her left for an unknown reason and laughed before facing the reporter again, who said, "Jussie Smollet".
A law enforcement source told Deadline that "the new direction of the investigation is now based on the premise that Mr. Smollett was an active participant in the incident".
Don't you think for the attackers to have yelled a racist slur as well as a homophobic slur as well as having a bottle of bleach as well as having a noose sounds a bit overdetermined, like bad television writing?
It included a powdery substance which police investigated and ruled was aspirin or Tylenol.
"We've got all these different instances where the reality doesn't match the narrative", he said.
"I'm really disappointed in him", she said in an Instagram Live video. "I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae", Smollett said.
The new alleged motive emerged on Monday as investigators pushed on with their probe into the murky January 29 incident which has divided many and prompted fierce debate over race, police integrity, homophobia and politics.