The 36-year-old actor required hospital treatment after a suspected racist and homophobic attack in Chicago last month, and the two men — identified in multiple news reports as two brothers from Nigeria — were arrested during the week but released without charge after questioning.Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi wrote on Twitter: “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.”
The attorney for the brothers told CBS Chicago that his clients know Smollett and that they sometimes work out at the same gym. He denied his clients were responsible for the attack.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Michael Monico has confirmed to Variety that he is now representing Smollett.
Smollett has told police he was attacked on Jan. 29, 2019, by two men, who he has accused of launching a racist and homophobic attack on him.
He also discussed the incident on “Good Morning America,” saying it had all happened “so fast” while he was out getting food.
He recalled: “I went to the Subway, got my order. During that time I texted my manager, thinking that he was still in Australia … I said, ‘Call me when you can.’ He called me immediately and while he was on the phone, I heard as I was crossing the intersection, ‘Empire!’ And I don’t answer to ‘Empire’, my name ain’t ‘Empire’.
“And I didn’t answer, I kept walking, and then I heard, “f—ing ‘Empire’ n—–.’ So I turned around and I said, ‘What the f— did you just say to me?’ And I see the attacker, masked, and he said, ‘This MAGA country, n—-,’ and he punched me right in the face. So I punched his ass back and then we started tussling.
“There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back and then it just stopped and they ran off.
“It happened so fast. It felt like minutes but it was probably 30 seconds.”