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Two Men Detained in Jussie Smollett Case Have Been Released 

Jussie Smollett updates

UPDATE (1:18pm PST): Jussie Smollett has retained two criminal defense attorneys as the investigation into his reported attack continues. 

A spokesperson for Smollett confirmed to The Advocate that Victor Henderson and Todd Pugh are now the acting legal council for the actor. Both men's firms focus on high profile criminal defense cases. His team would not elaborate on why the actor has retained a criminal defense team. 

His spokesperson also refuted reports that Michael Monico — the lawyer for President Donld Trump confidante Michael Cohen — is currently representing the actor.


 

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The two men who were arrested and detained by Chicago police for probable cause in connection with the alleged hate-crime attack against actor Jussie Smollett have been released without being charged on Friday evening. 

"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 addiontal investigative work to complete," spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi shared on Friday evening

Charges have not been filed against anyone for the January 29 attack and Smollett is still considered a victim in the incident. 

The spokesperson confirmed prior reporting that at least one of the men worked on Empire. Representatives for Smollett told The Advocate late Thursday night that prosecutors had not relayed any information on the identity of the two men.

The two brothers' lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, has told outlets that the men know Smollett and would even attend a local gym with him. A source who frequents one of the gyms that the men visit confirmed to The Advocate that the men would openly discuss their connections with the show Empire that Smollett stars in.

The Advocate also confirmed that Smollett and the two men follow one another on their personal social media accounts as well. 

Local outlets in Chicago released reporting on Thursday evening originally stating that Smollett worked with these two men to coordinate the attack; however, the Chicago police called these reports “unconfirmed.” 

"Media reports anout [sic] the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives," the department's spokesperson tweeted. "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."

Original reports stated the men coorindated the attack with Smollett in response to him being written off Empire. Fox immediately denied this claim and issued a statement defending Smollett as news spread. 

Widespread backlash has erupted stemming from that reporting as more details emerge across social media, leading to outlets like Variety to take down tweets using the original reporting. The local outlets have maintained their support behind this reporting.

Smollett told Good Morning America on Thursday morning that he stands by his story and was frustrated with criticism that he was lying. Rumors have circulated by mostly far-right groups on social media suggesting Smollett filed false reports.

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