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Suspects in alleged attack on ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett released

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Suspects arrested in connection with an alleged racist and homophobic assault on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago were released on Friday, police said.

“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 Chicago Police Department said in a email to Reuters.

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The individuals are no longer being classified as suspects, the department said.

A spokesman for the department on Friday night declined to confirm to Reuters whether the individuals released were the two Nigerian brothers police said they arrested on Wednesday at Chicago O’Hare Airport in connection to the attack.

Authorities had previously said only that the pair, whose names have not been released, were persons of interest after they were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in the area where Smollett said two men shouted slurs at him and put a rope around his neck on Jan. 29.

“Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.

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He has denied a media report on Thursday that said officers were investigating whether Smollett staged the attack because he was being written out of the television show.

“While we haven’t found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is no evidence to say that this is a hoax. The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect,” Guglielmi said on Friday.

News of the alleged attack on Smollett, a 36-year-old openly gay African-American who plays a gay character on the hip-hop drama “Empire,” caused uproar on social media, but some have doubted Smollett’s account.

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In an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired on Thursday, Smollett said he was angry that some people questioned his story, and he suggested the disbelief might come from racial bias.
The two men know Smollett from working on “Empire” and were picked up at the airport on Wednesday after returning from Nigeria where they were visiting family, their lawyer Gloria Schmidt told Chicago TV station CBS2.

Schmidt could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Twentieth Century Fox Television, the producer of “Empire” released a statement on Thursday saying the idea that Smollett has been, or would be, written out of the show was “patently ridiculous,” and that they continue to stand behind him.

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Reporting by Gabriella Borter and Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Alistair Bell and Susan Thomas

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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