Jussie Smollett retains defense lawyer as Chicago police search his home

Jussie Smollett has lawyered up.  After news spread that Chicago police were treating his report of a hate crime as a hoax, he has retained the council of notorious high-profile defense attorney Michael Monico.  This lawyer has represented other notorious defendants like Michael Cohen and a Cabinet member under President G.W. Bush.  He describes himself on his website as "the premier criminal defense attorney in the country."  Mr. Monico specializes in "white collar, health care fraud, antitrust, public corruption, mail, wire and securities fraud, and foreign corrupt practices investigations throughout the United States and around the globe."  Quite an ominous sign for a man clinging to his own victimhood to pick a criminal defense attorney.

Smollett has already purchased services from the P.R. firm Sunshine Sachs, which manages the legal scandals of other clients like Harvey Weinstein.  The firm has taken over making public statements on its newest celebrity client's behalf.  Most likely at its direction, he has scrubbed all of his social media accounts of any personal mention of the alleged incident.

Chicago police released the Nigerian brothers late Friday evening after dropping battery charges against them.  The brothers, one of whom appeared as an extra on Jussie Smollett's television show, were picked up late Wednesday night when their flight landed at O'Hare airport.   They were returning from their home country of Nigeria, which they had departed to hours after Jussie reported the "attack."

While the two were in police custody, law enforcement raided their house and took a list of items including five containers of bleach, computers, firearms, and a "red hat."  The pair was officially arrested Friday morning, and investigators spent over 12 hours straight interrogating them.   The Chicago Police Department released this official statement upon their release:

Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released...and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.

This "additional investigative work" apparently sent the CPD to Jussie Smollett's residence, where they seized a container of bleach.  It is unknown whether this was after a warrant was issued or Smollett willingly complied with their request after advice from his new counsel.  Chicago police confirmed to Fox News that information that was discovered during the questioning of the Nigerian brothers prompted this search.  

Jussie and law enforcement's actions are no longer disguised as Smollett being a victim of a hate crime.  All signs are pointing toward a crumbling empire, arguably more exciting to watch than the TV drama he stars in.

Image: Dominick D via Flickr.