Jussie Smollett has reportedly hired Michael Monico, the lawyer who represented President Trump's attorney Michael Cohen, to defend him in the case of his alleged attack.
Smollett, a star on FOX's Empire, among other things, was attacked on a Chicago street on the night of Jan. 29. The actor's case has had some strange ups and downs as conflicting reports and evidence pile up. Some are even speculating that the assault was a hoax, and Smollet hiring a defense attorney has added fuel to that fire.
"Late tonight, high powered Chicago defense attorney Michael Monico confirmed to ET that he is now representing Jussie Smollett," tweeted Entertainment Tonight reporter Brendon Geoffrion on Friday. "It is unclear when Monico began representing Smollett. Monico most recently represented President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen."
Late tonight, high powered Chicago defense attorney Michael Monico confirmed to ET that he is now representing Jussie Smollett. It is unclear when Monico began representing Smollett. Monico most recently represented President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.— Brendon Geoffrion (@tv_brendon) February 16, 2019
Monico is a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Illinois. He first mentioned that he is representing Smollet during an interview on WGN's The Roe Conn Show on Thursday. It is still not clear how long he has represented the actor, nor in what capacity. His employment further complicates a confusing face.
Police arrested two Nigerian brothers on Wednesday, 27-year-old Olabinjo Osundairo and 25-year-old Abimbola Osundairo. They were released on Friday without any charges. After initially being described as suspects in the case, police said that they were absolved.
"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," said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Still, now that the Osundairo brothers have been associated with the case as persons of interest, their futures are in question as well. The two had worked as extras on Empire, and the rumors suggested that they had orchestrated the attack with Smollett to get back at producers in some way. Their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, suggested that there was more to the story, but that the brothers would tell it in their own time.
"There's so many moving parts to this that will come out in time," she said. "I'm going to let them tell their story when the time is right."0comments
Producers have denied that Smollett was in danger of being written off of Empire.
Smollett claims that two men attacked him late at night, calling out racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him. He says that they poured an unknown chemical on his head and tied a rope around his neck, yelling "this is MAGA country" before running off.