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Critical new evidence busts Jussie Smollett assault case wide open as he lawyers up

More twists and turns

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

UPDATE, 8:00 P.M. EST: Law enforcement sources are telling media that the Nigerian brothers arrested and later released in the alleged assault admitted Jussie Smollett paid them to orchestrate the attack.

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As Chicago police continue to piece together what happened on the morning of Jan. 29, in which actor Jussie Smollett alleges he was the victim of a homophobic and racist assault, the star actor of "Empire" has lawyered up.

What are the details?

According to PageSix, Smollett has enlisted the legal aide of Michael Monico, a former federal prosecutor who represents Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer of President Donald Trump.

PageSix has the details:

"Yes, at the moment, I am," Michael Monico, a former federal prosecutor in Illinois' Northern District, told WGN's "The Roe Conn Show" on Thursday.

Monico did not say how long he's been representing Smollett, or in what capacity.

The development generated traction on Saturday after police released two "persons of interest" in the assault case just hours after they were apprehended. The potential suspects — Nigerian brothers Olabinjo Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola Osundairo, 25 — were released after new evidence surfaced, a police spokesman said.

What is the new evidence?

First, the Chicago Police Department confirmed the brothers were the two men seen on surveillance images at the alleged crime scene.

"Yes, they are confirmed to be the men on scene by surveillance video. The reason why they were there is now central to the investigation and we can't get into that at this time," CPD told WLS-TV.

A lawyer representing the brothers said something her clients told investigators shifted the trajectory of the investigation, although she did not go into detail, according to TMZ.

Second, a reporter for WFLD-TV — Fox's local Chicago affiliate — reported Saturday that police are now seriously investigating whether the alleged assault is, in fact, a hoax after it was discovered the Osundairo brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett's neck at a local Ace Hardware store.

Finally, CPD told multiple reporters that after speaking with the Osundairo brothers Friday night, detectives reached out to Smollett's legal team explaining they need to speak with Smollett again.

CNN later reported Saturday, citing law enforcement sources, that new evidence suggests Smollett orchestrated the attack.

One last thing…
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