Jussie Smollett Denies Hiring Defense Attorney

A representative for Smollett denies a report saying “Empire” star hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney

Last Updated: February 16, 2019 @ 3:04 PM

A representative for “Empire” star Jussie Smollett denies a report that the actor has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney, Michael D. Monico.

Monico said during an interview on WGN’s The Roe Conn Show on Thursday and then confirmed in a report in Variety Friday that Smollett was his client.

“I’d like to get your thoughts [on] Jussie Smollett here, but we can’t get your thoughts on Jussie Smollett because [of] this big developing story today, and it turns out you’re the attorney for Jussie Smollett, too,” Conn said to Monico.

“Yes, at the moment, I am,” Monico replied.

Smollett’s rep denied the report when contacted by TheWrap on Saturday, and Monico declined to comment on the matter.

According to Breitbart, Monico and his law partner, Barry Spevack, took over as Cohen’s attorney, his press representative Lanny Davis said on Jan. 28. Monico and Spevack took over for Guy Petrillo, a criminal defense attorney who previously served as the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office’s criminal division chief.

Smollett told detectives he was attacked near his Chicago home by two men on Jan. 29 yelling about “MAGA,” as well as spewing racist and homophobic slurs. According to a police statement, the actor reported that he was battered “about the face,” that “an unknown chemical substance” was poured on him, and that the attackers wrapped a rope around his neck.

Two males were arrested and questioned as “potential suspects” then released without charges “due to new evidence” on Friday.

Police have said that Smollett continues to be considered a victim in relation to the investigation, contesting two recent news reports saying investigators have raised the possibility that Smollett may have orchestrated the attack himself.

“Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” Chicago police tweeted Thursday. “Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”

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