In a stunning twist in the ongoing saga surrounding Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett and his alleged assault, the two Nigerian brothers arrested and interrogated earlier in the week on suspicion of committing the attack have been released with no charges filed.
“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday.
Case Update: Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete. pic.twitter.com/Hswn1Qjgcy
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 16, 2019
Smollett claimed in late January that two men had assaulted him, poured bleach on him and placed a noose around his neck, all while allegedly yelling racial and homophobic slurs and shouting, “This is MAGA country!” FYI, Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931.
According to TMZ, Smollett also claimed that the suspect was white. The dubious description of the alleged attack provided to local authorities by him led the left to assume the perpetrators were racist white supporters of President Donald Trump and that Trump was therefore to blame.
“This is what happens,” actress Ellen Page said on “The Late Show” earlier this month, referencing the attack. “If you are in a position of power and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them — you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering — what do you think is gonna happen? … This needs to f–king stop.”
Yet on Thursday local Chicago authorities raided the home of two “persons of interests,” both of them black Nigerian brothers. At the home authorities found “a black face mask hat, an ‘Empire’ script, a phone, receipts, a red hat and bleach,” according to Los Angeles station KCAL.
“Empire” is an ongoing Fox series that stars Smollett. According to the two men’s attorney, Gloria Schmidt, they know the actor and have worked with him on the series.
BREAKING:Police raided the home of two persons of interest in Jussie Smollett case last night. Both men are of Nigerian decent and have appeared as extras on the show. Police took bleach, shoes electronics and more.Officers asked family if they knew #Jussiesmollett. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/PDSFtf5jwb
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019
This information is according to family who says home was ransacked. I asked family why they think police picked the two brothers up for questioning and they replied by saying the men left for #Nigeria the day of the attack. @cbschicago
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 14, 2019
Identified as actors Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, the suspects were arrested while arriving into the U.S. at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport after having traveled to Nigeria. What’s odd is that they left for their “trip” on the exact same day that Smollett was attacked.
Also strange is that Smollett reportedly follows their fitness-themed Instagram accounts:
Because of the host of coincidences in the case, a rumor began to circulate in the media that the attack had been purposefully staged.
“Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of ‘Empire,'” Chicago station WLS reported late Thursday evening.
A reporter with Chicago station WBBM claimed the same thing:
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) February 15, 2019
However, Guglielmi promptly nixed this rumor in the bud, writing on Twitter, “Media reports anout (sic) the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.”
Fox issued a statement as well.
Media reports anout the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate. pic.twitter.com/iSO5YFv452
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 15, 2019
Statement just in from Fox on Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/nNSHNSxV8w
— David Mack (@davidmackau) February 15, 2019
The brothers’ release from custody Friday does not mean they’re off the hook yet. Authorities confirmed with TMZ that the brothers may have to participate in a lineup soon.
“A Chicago law enforcement source tells us the next step may be a lineup in which Jussie will be asked to identify the culprits. This raises a potential problem because, as we first reported, Jussie initially said his attackers were white and yelled ‘MAGA country,'” TMZ reported.
No additional information had been released by Saturday morning except for this tidbit of juicy intel: Smollett has reportedly hired the same attorney used by notorious liar and conman Michael Cohen. What social media would like to know is why an alleged victim would need an attorney?
HUGE Jussie Smollett update: Upon release of Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo we find out Jussie Smollett has hired a defense attorney, Michael Monico, who also represents Michael Cohen. That seems significant…
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) February 16, 2019
Why would a victim hire one of the top DEFENSE attorneys in Chicago? Don’t defense attorneys work for “defendants” (or potential ones), not for victims? Asking for a friend…
— Riaghan Rabbit (@RiaghanRabbit) February 16, 2019
— DEPLORABLE NATIONALIST (@fashionchaos) February 16, 2019
Jussie has hired high powered criminal defense attorney Michael Monico who also represents Michael Cohen. Now, why would an innocent victim hire a top criminal defense att – nevermind. ?
This story gets crazier by the day… https://t.co/jVlRbE1swE
— Jennifer D. Laws (@MsLaws1) February 16, 2019
Smollett has also hired the same high profile defense lawyer that represented Michael Cohen. Why would a “victim” need a defense lawyer?? #Hoax
— Julie Lynn ?? (@julie_buker) February 16, 2019
— Jeremy O’Byrne (@RDASoccer) February 16, 2019
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