Jussie Smollett Case: Two Suspects Released Without Charges as New Evidence Emerges

After two days of questioning, the Chicago Police Department announced Friday evening that it has released two suspects in the Jussie Smollett case without filing charges.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that detectives had developed new information in the case. Police no longer consider the men to be suspects.

“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,” he said.

Also on Friday, defense attorney Michael Monico confirmed to Variety that he is now representing Smollett, one of the stars of “Empire.” On Saturday, however, Smollett’s representatives denied that Smollett had hired Monico.

Smollett told police on Jan. 29 that two men attacked him, yelled homophobic and racial slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a rope around his neck. Local media has reported that investigators are looking into whether the incident was staged. The Chicago Police Department has said that it had no evidence of that, and that Smollett is still being treated as a victim.

Monico is a high-powered defense attorney with decades of experience. He recently represented Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, in his criminal case.

The two men released Friday evening — who police have not officially identified — had been under arrest, though police never disclosed what charges they could potentially face. The attorney for the two Nigerian brothers told CBS Chicago that both know Smollett from “Empire,” and that they go to the same gym. The attorney denied that the men had attacked Smollett.

Police searched the home of the two brothers on Wednesday night, finding electronics, shoes, and bleach, according to local reports.

Fox issued a statement on Thursday standing by the actor, and strongly dismissing a report that Smollett may have acted out because he was being written off the show.