Jussie Smollett Attack: 2 Suspects Released Without Charges in Light of 'New Evidence'

The two brothers questioned in connection to the alleged attack of Empire actor Jussie Smollett were released from custody Chicago police said late Friday, citing "new evidence."

The men, identified as Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo by their attorney, were arrested early Friday but not charged.

"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 spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday, reports CBS 2 News Chicago.

Guglielmi said the men are no longer suspects and the investigation is ongoing, reports ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

Smollett, 36, told police he was attacked by two men around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 on his way to his apartment. He said the men yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured a chemical on him and put a rope around his neck. Two men were seen on a surveillance video near the location of the alleged attack.

Police raided the Osundairo brothers homes on Wednesday and met them at O'Hare International Airport as they arrived after a trip to Nigeria. Police reportedly seized a black face mask hat, an Empire script, a phone, receipts, bleach and a red hat. At least one of the brothers worked on Empire.

Two sources close to the investigation told CBS 2 News the attack was "potentially orchestrated by the actor himself," and two other men were involved.

Police said that while there is no evidence of the alleged attack yet, there is also no evidence of it being a hoax. They are still treating Smollett as a victim and he continues to cooperate in the investigation.

20th Century Fox Television also denied a reports that Smollett and the men planned the attack because Smollett was going to be written off Empire.

"The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him," the studio said.

On Thursday, Smollett gave his first interview since the alleged attack, telling Good Morning America's Robin Roberts he wants the surveillance footage from that night released.

"I want them to see that I fought back and I want a little gay boy who might watch this to see that I fought the [expletive] back. And it does not take anything away from people that are not able to do that but I fought back," Smollett, an openly gay actor, said. "They ran off. I didn't."

Smollett said he initially did not want to call police, but his friend and creative director Frank Gatson, contacted them on his behalf.

"There's a level of pride there," Smollett explained. "We live in a society where, as a gay man, you are considered somehow to be weak, and I'm not weak. I'm not weak, and we as a people are not weak."


Smollett has played Jamal Lyon on Empire since 2015 and starred in 2017's Alien: Covenant.

Photo credit: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images