The attorney for Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, the two brothers questioned in connection to the alleged attack of Empire actor Jussie Smollett, said the "new evidence" that led to them being released from custody late Friday was something they provided police.
In an interview with reporters Friday night in Chicago, attorney Gloria Schmidt was asked if she could shed any new light on the evidence police cited. Schmidt said it was "new evidence that was brought to their attention... obviously I had it, my clients had it, but I think it took a matter of coordination."
The two men, who both worked on Empire, were arrested Friday morning but were never charged. Police said the two were released after questioning. They are no longer considered suspects and the investigation continues.
"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.
Smollett, 36, told police he was attacked by two men in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 on his way to his apartment. He said the men yelled homophobic and racial slurs at him, poured a chemical on him and put a rope around his neck.
The Osundairo brothers were met by police at O'Hare International Airport, after arriving in Chicago from Nigeria in Wednesday. Police also raided their homes.
Although sources close to the investigation have told local Chicago media outlets the attack may have been a hoax, police insist there is no evidence to suggest that. When TMZ asked Schmidt if it was a hoax, she did not speculate.
"There's so many moving parts to this," Schmidt said. "That will come out in due time. I don't want to speculate. I think I would be doing a disservice to the truth if I did."
Schmidt also said her clients have a story to tell "when the time is right" and would not answer why they went to Nigeria on the day of the alleged attack.
Other reports suggested that Smollett planned the attack because he was going to be written off Empire, but show producer 20th Century FOX Television denied that.
"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.
“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."
Late Friday night, Chicago defense attorney Michael Monico said he is now representing Smollett. Moncino is a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Illinois and represented President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Photo credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX