Police in Chicago have arrested two men in connection with the alleged Jan. 29 attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, according to media reports.
TMZ reports that the men — who have connections to the Fox drama series — have been booked for battery, although at the time of the report they apparently had yet to be formally charged.
“The men are brothers from Nigeria named Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, and Chicago cops are now calling them ‘potential suspects’ … as opposed to persons of interest,” TMZ reports. “We know it was their home cops raided Wednesday and seized a long list of potential evidence … including several bottles of bleach.”
The men, who go by the nicknames Ola and Abel, have come up as figures in the story of the Smollett attack since they were picked up for questioning Wednesday night at O’Hare Airport on their return from Nigeria. According to The New York Post, police revealed today that the brothers were arrested at that time and have been held since then.
“The beefy brothers, who describe themselves as actors and models, have links to ‘Empire’ — Ola played a prison inmate on season 2 of the hit Fox series, while Abel says he’s also worked on the show,” The Post reports.
It is unclear how well the brothers and Smollett know each other. Ola reportedly also recently had a part on “Chicago PD.”
Police have not confirmed that the Osundairo brothers are the same men seen in a grainy photo released from surveillance footage. Smollett has said he believes the men in the photo are his attackers. You can click here to see that photo.
“A Chicago law enforcement source tells us the next step may be a lineup in which Jussie will be asked to identify the culprits,” TMZ reports. “This raises a potential problem because … Jussie initially said his attackers were white and yelled ‘MAGA country.'” The report adds that the Osundairos “just don’t fit that profile.”
The Post report notes that authorities have 48 hours from the time of the arrests to issue charges against the men being held, which means if it’s going to happen it can be expected to take place sometime today.