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Rapper 21 Savage Freed From US Immigration Custody, Could Still Be Deported

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OCILLA, Ga. (AP) — A lawyer for 21 Savage says the Grammy-nominated rapper has been released from an immigration detention center in south Georgia.

Immigration lawyer Tia Smith said in an email that the rapper, whose given name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was released Wednesday on $100,000 bond. He had been held in the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla.

Abraham-Joseph was arrested early Feb. 3. An immigration judge on Tuesday granted him bond.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said the British citizen overstayed his visa and has an October 2014 felony conviction in Fulton County.

His lawyers have said the 26-year-old rapper was brought to the U.S. when he was 7 and his legal status expired in 2006 through no fault of his own. They’ve disputed that he has a felony conviction.

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Former Potential Suspects In Alleged Jussie Smollett Attack Claim Attack Was Faked

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UPDATE: Smolletts’ attorneys released a statement countering the claims of the two brothers.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.

“Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to “unnamed” sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.”

Chicago (CBS) — Two brothers who were questioned and released by Chicago police investigating the Jussie Smollett attack did play a role in the crime.

Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store the weekend of Jan. 25.

The brothers were paid $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and were promised an additional $500 upon their return.

They left for Nigeria later in the day on Jan. 29 after the attack.

The sources say plain red hats worn by the brothers were bought at an Uptown beauty supply store and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29.

Smollett claims two men attacked him in Streeterville early Jan. 29 as he was heading to his apartment. He said they yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, poured a chemical on him and put a rope around his neck.

The brothers are now cooperating with police.

Since being released Friday night, the brothers have been staying in an undisclosed location.

Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said:

“We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

Developing story, more to come…

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Suspects In Alleged Attack On Jussie Smollett Released From Chicago Police Custody

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Feb 15 (Reuters) – 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.

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.

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.

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. (Reporting by Gabriella Borter and Brendan O’Brien Editing by Alistair Bell and Susan Thomas)

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Chicago Police Questioning Two Persons of Interest In Attack of Jussie Smollett

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the attack on ‘Empire’ cast member Jussie Smollett (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Chicago police say they’re interviewing two “persons of interest” who surveillance photos show were in the area where “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett says he was attacked last month.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday that the two men aren’t considered suspects but may have been in the area at the time.

Guglielmi told The Associated Press that the two men are the same people shown in surveillance photos released last month by police.

Smollett says two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him before beating him and putting a rope around his neck when he was walking downtown early on Jan. 29.

Guglielmi says the men were identified through the use of advanced technology, interviews with Smollett and witnesses, and transportation records.


9 a.m.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is responding to critics who question his report about being attacked in downtown Chicago last month.

Smollett told police two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, attacked him and put a rope around his neck early on Jan. 29. The 36-year-old actor is black and openly gay.

Smollett tells ABC News it’s “ridiculous” to think he’d lie in his explanation for being outside at 2 a.m. in frigid Chicago weather.

He says he left the rope and clothes on when police arrived “because I wanted them to see.” He says accusations that the attack was a date gone bad are offensive.

No arrests have been made. Police say they’ve not found surveillance video that shows the attack but that the investigation is ongoing.

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