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Jussie Smollett Cops Release 'Suspects' Due to New Evidence Gathered During Questioning

2/15/2019 7:30 PM PST
Exclusive Details

7:30 PM PT -- Cops are releasing the Osundairo brothers and they won't be charged.

Chicago PD says, "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."

Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi added that detectives have "additional investigative work to complete."Police have now arrested 2 men in the Jussie Smollett investigation -- 2 men with ties to "Empire" -- and TMZ has learned they were booked for battery.

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. We know it was their home cops raided Wednesday and seized a long list of potential evidence ... including several bottles of bleach.

As we reported ... cops picked up Ola and Abel, their nicknames, on Wednesday night at O'Hare Airport. 

A Chicago law enforcement source tells us the next step may be a lineup in which Jussie will be asked to identify the culprits. This raises a potential problem because, as we first reported, Jussie initially said his attackers were white and yelled "MAGA country."

The Osundairos, from Nigeria, just don't fit that profile.

As you know, Jussie has stated the men in the dark, grainy image released last month are definitely his attackers. Police are not confirming the Osundairo brothers are the men in that photo.

Ola played a prison inmate on season 2 of "Empire." It's unclear exactly how well they know Jussie, but we know Jussie follows their joint Instagram account. Abel also says he's worked on "Empire."

Both brothers describe themselves online as actors and models.

Originally Published 10:10 AM PT

21 Savage Trump May Be the Reason He Gets Deported

2/14/2019 5:00 AM PST

21 Savage may be deported, and not because he's ineligible to stay in the United States ... it's because of Donald Trump.

We now understand MOST of what went down with 21's arrest and looming deportation. Here's how it goes.

Sources directly connected to the case tell TMZ ... the decision to arrest and deport 21 Savage was made months ago by the Atlanta bureau of ICE. At that time, ICE decided it would arrest Savage and hold him without bond until he could be deported.

As for why ICE wanted Savage held without bond, we've learned they incorrectly believed 21 had a felony conviction, which would have disqualified him from being able to post bond. As we reported, 21's 2014 drug conviction was vacated and sealed in the Fall -- which effectively erases it -- but court records weren't updated, so all ICE saw was the conviction. 

Now, this is super weird ... we've learned just days ago ICE headquarters in Washington D.C. got involved in the case, and when they did, ICE had already figured out 21 was not a felon and therefore should have been released on bond. Our sources say ICE in D.C. IGNORED the fact that the conviction was erased and doubled down, saying 21 should NOT be released. No one we've spoken to has any idea why D.C. took such a position when it was not supported by the facts. 

Keep reading ... we're getting to Trump.

We've confirmed ICE was on the scene with various other local and federal law enforcement agencies when 21 was arrested on Super Bowl Sunday with a plan to arrest him. We're told ATF first took 21 into custody and literally handed him over to an ICE agent on the spot. 

Our ICE sources say they had no other involvement in the other arrests at the scene ... they were only there to arrest Savage. It is unclear why ICE needed to be part of that operation ... why didn't they just go to 21's home and arrest him in the months prior to the sting?

As we reported, 21's lawyers went to court Tuesday and convinced a judge to bond 21 out. As for next steps, 21's application to stay in the U.S. will be processed, and it's virtually certain it will be approved because he qualifies on every count. He has dependents in the country, he has no convictions, and he's been here more than 10 years. There are no obstacles in his way ... EXCEPT TRUMP.

Turns out Trump changed the immigration policies from Obama and Bush. We're told Trump's marching orders are to deport people who have a pending visa application -- even if it's a slam dunk -- and they can come back if and when it's approved.

We've learned, before 21 Savage was released Tuesday, ICE agents told him they would drop deportation proceedings if he voluntarily left the country. We're told he passed and will fight to stay.

BTW ... 21 filed his application to stay in the U.S. in 2017 and it takes around 4 years for ICE to process it, so the stakes are high. 

21 Savage Out of Detention ... I'm Flying Home!!!

2/13/2019 10:12 AM PST

21 Savage got his first taste of freedom in 10 days, and immediately hopped on a private jet to fly back home ... TMZ has learned.

We got this shot of 21 and his mom boarding the plane at a landing strip near the immigration detention center in southern Georgia where he'd been held since ICE arrested him over Super Bowl weekend.

For good reason ... the rapper had a huge grin on his face as he headed home.

21's lawyer, Alex Spiro, saw our pic and said, "That's how we take people home when they win."

We're told 21 Savage's homecoming will include a meeting with friends and family in the ATL area.

A ton of celebs voiced messages of support for the rapper while he was locked up. Kendrick Lamar, Jesse Williams, Future and Post Malone -- who sported a 21 Savage shirt at the Grammys -- were just some of the A-listers. 

21's not out of the woods ... he still faces deportation. We're told his people are going to fight this tooth and nail, and it appears the big issue is whether 21 has been convicted of a felony. It's true ... 21 pled guilty to felony drug charges in 2014, but that conviction was expunged last year so there is not a felony on his record. Although ICE isn't giving us any information, it appears they still view 21 Savage as a convicted felon.

The rapper has applied for a U-Visa, having been in the U.S. more than 10 years, but the conviction seems to be the sticking point. 

'Daily Show' Jordan Klepper Busted During Atlanta Protest Charged with Criminal Trespass

2/12/2019 2:36 PM PST

12:33 PM PT -- Law enforcement sources confirm that Klepper was part of a group of 9 people who, just after 10 AM, interrupted a Board of Regents meeting with chanting. When asked to leave, the participants locked arms and refused.

They were all arrested and charged with criminal trespass.

11:54 AM PT -- A rep for Klepper confirms he was arrested while shooting a segment for his show. The rep says it's expected Jordan will be released tonight. Comedian and former 'Daily Show' correspondent Jordan Klepper just got busted by cops in Atlanta during a protest to support undocumented students.

Klepper and several others disrupted a Board of Regents meeting at the state capitol. We're told Klepper and the others refused to leave the gathering ... so cops stepped in. Someone on scene tells us the comedian was shooting his documentary series, "Klepper," when the incident went down.  

As for the protest ... we're told it was against a policy barring undocumented students from enrolling or working on campus. 

A video taken from the protest shows Klepper and others locking hands as cops place demonstrators in handcuffs. 

Jordan is the former host of Comedy Central's satirical late-night show, 'The Opposition,' which was canceled last summer after its first season. He's also appeared on almost 200 episodes of Comedy Central's 'Daily Show.'

We've reached out to a rep for Klepper ... so far, no word back.

Story developing ... 

Originally published -- 11:01 AM PST

El Chapo Guilty on All Counts!!! El Locked Up for Life

2/12/2019 11:43 AM PST
Breaking News

11:35 AM PT -- The sketch artist in the courtroom caught the moment El Chapo and his wife exchanged thumbs-up after the verdict was announced.

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman is guilty on all 10 counts he was facing in a Brooklyn federal court ... and he's now facing life in prison.

A jury of 7 women and 5 men returned the verdict Tuesday to wrap up a nearly 3-month long criminal trial that included up to 200 hours of testimony about drug trafficking, gold-plated AK-47s, diamond-encrusted pistols ... and an alleged $100 million payment to a former Mexican president.

After 6 days of deliberations, the jury returned guilty verdicts against Chapo for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, international distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs and use of firearms.

Reporters in the courtroom say Chapo looks stunned by the verdict, and his wife, Emma Coronel, fought back tears ... even as she and Chapo gave each other thumbs up. 

It's been a wild ride for the Sinaloa Cartel's leader over these past few years. He was captured by the Mexican government in 2014, escaped more than a year later through a mile-long underground tunnel ... but got caught again in early 2016. 

He was extradited to the U.S. in 2017, and between then and last November -- when his criminal trial got underway -- there have been a series of weird motions and rulings about his life behind bars. Just to name a few, Chapo has had prison TV woes, prayer problems, love letter recommendations and made a heartfelt promise NOT to kill his anonymous jurors. 

Law enforcement sources tell us Chapo is looking at a mandatory life sentence ... without parole. Sentencing will be announced June 25.

Chapo's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman -- who's in the unenviable position of losing the case -- tells us, "We're very disappointed but we fought like hell and left it all on the battlefield." 

Originally published -- 9:42 AM PST

NBA YoungBoy Arrested in ATL for Weed Possession ... 2 Other Misdemeanors

2/11/2019 3:19 PM PST

2/12 6:55 AM PT -- YB and Thigpen were just released on bond.

3:35 PM PT -- According to cops, YB and a female companion named Starr Thigpen were hanging out in a hotel room that "was supposed to be unoccupied." Housekeeping entered the room, and YB allegedly told Thigpen to get them out ... that's when Thigpen attacked one of the maids, striking her in the face.

The police report -- obtained by TMZ -- states the fight spilled into the hallway until the housekeeper could get away and call the cops. When cops arrived, both YB and Thigpen were arrested.

NBA YoungBoy just got busted in Atlanta, and he's set to appear before a judge Tuesday ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us the Louisiana-born MC is currently locked up at the Atlanta City Detention Center, where he's been booked for three misdemeanors -- possession of weed (less than an ounce), use of fighting words and physical obstruction with another. 

His bond hasn't been set yet, but he's got a court hearing early Tuesday morning. Details on the arrest are unclear, but an eyewitness tells us he was busted along with a female companion.

You'll recall ... YB was indicted last year for allegedly beating the hell out of his then-girlfriend, and one of the charges he faced was felony kidnapping

We posted video of the alleged assault, captured on a hotel surveillance camera.

Originally Published -- 3:19 PM PST

Young Thug Placed in Cuffs Before Grammys ... Still Makes the Show

2/10/2019 6:47 PM PST

Young Thug nearly didn't make it to the Grammys after he got put in cuffs just hours beforehand  -- but, luckily, he didn't find himself in a jail cell come showtime.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... YT and a group of guys riding in a van were pulled over early Sunday morning for a traffic violation in WeHo. We're told Young Thug and the other passengers were taken out of the car and handcuffed.

As you can see in this video, obtained by TMZ, they were lined up outside a McDonald's ... and, at one point, Thug also had his hands over his head.

Our sources tell us one of the men in the vehicle -- not Thug -- told police that he was in possession of a registered firearm, but upon further inspection ... cops found the gun wasn't registered in California, so the guy got arrested on the spot. Everyone else was cut loose.

It's a good thing YT was able to walk away from this relatively scot-free, 'cause he was part of the opening act later Sunday alongside Camila Cabello. Seeing how he's the featured artist on her song, "Havana" ... it was kinda important that he be there.

He also ended up winning his first Grammy ever for his contribution to Childish Gambino's "This Is America," which won Song of the Year. YT was one of many MCs who provided backing vocals for the track. 

Phew ...

Bow Wow Arrest Raging at GF Before Brawl ... Revealed in Surveillance Video

2/9/2019 1:00 AM PST

Bow Wow was enraged at his girlfriend before their violent fight, forcefully snatching something from her, cornering her and getting all up in her grill ... according to a surveillance video obtained by TMZ.

The video taken from their apartment complex shows Bow Wow and Kiyomi Leslie Holden taking an elevator up to their unit after a night of partying. The rapper looks PISSED at Kiyomi Leslie, because he rips something from her hand, and appears to berate her.

The video shows rising tension between Bow Wow and Kiyomi Leslie leading up to their knock-down, drag-out brawl over the weekend in Atlanta, which led to both of them getting arrested for battery

We broke the story ... Kiyomi Leslie told cops Bow Wow flew into a jealous rage because she was talking to another man at a party. Bow Wow backed her story up, and said she called him a "bitch ass n*****."

As we reported ... after the brawl, Kiyomi Leslie called 911 claiming Bow Wow hit her several times, took her phone and refused to let her out of a bedroom. 

We also obtained photos of the injuries Bow Wow says he sustained at the hands of Kiyomi Leslie, and they show deep scratches on his face and bite marks on his body. 

'Fiji Water Girl' Sued Return Fire from Fiji ... You Bit the Hand That Feeds!

2/8/2019 11:00 AM PST

The "Fiji Water Girl" is full of herself and, instead of turning on the company that made her famous, she should have just enjoyed it and honored her contract ... that's how Fiji sees it, anyway.

Fiji filed a counter lawsuit Friday against model Kelleth Cuthbert -- real name Kelly Steinbach -- saying she's "bitten the hand that feeds her" and attempted to extort the company for half a million dollars. In docs, Fiji says Kelly's real motivation was getting a better deal ... aka more money.

As you know ... Cuthbert became a viral sensation after photobombing every celeb at the Golden Globes, and her likeness was later used on cardboard cutouts at various stores to promote the water. She sued, claiming she never gave Fiji her permission for that campaign.

Fiji's calling BS and, according to docs, it had a valid deal with Kelleth to be a brand ambassador for $90k, and claims it included using her likeness for its related ad campaign.

Fiji says she tried to skirt the deal by "suing the very company that is entirely responsible for providing her the opportunity and the means to capitalize on her fleeting 15 minutes of internet fame." Ouch. Body blow.

The company also says it has video and photo proof of Cuthbert signing her contract, which she claimed she never did.

Fiji's asking for Kelly's suit to be dismissed, and wants damages for its canceled cutout campaign.

12:30 PM PT -- Kelleth's lawyer, Kecia Reynolds, tells TMZ, "Kelleth will not be bullied by Fiji Water, the Wonderful Company, or its billionaire owners."

They double down on their original claim, stating that "she is legally entitled to damages and profits from the use of her image. Fiji Water's complaint is meritless and Kelleth is confident she will prevail in court."

Miguel I'm Pulling for 21 Savage ... He's Exposing ICE Issues!!!

2/7/2019 2:17 PM PST

It might not make 21 Savage feel better right now, but something positive could come from his ICE arrest ... according to Miguel who's been tackling immigration policy issues for years.

The R&B-singing great was on "TMZ Live" Thursday when he tried to find a silver lining for 21, saying more and more people will now see the problems with ICE -- especially for non-famous people in the same boat as the rapper.

As you know ... the "Bank Account" rapper was arrested last weekend in Atlanta, remains in custody and could be deported. Even Jay-Z has now stepped in, calling 21's arrest "an absolute travesty" and providing legal assistance

As Miguel sees it, 21 could now become the face of immigration policy issues -- much the way Meek Mill did for criminal justice reform.

Bow Wow Arrest Injuries from Fight ... Bite Marks and Deep Scratches

2/7/2019 12:42 PM PST

We've just obtained photos of the injuries Bow Wow says he sustained at the hands of his girlfriend -- before they both got arrested -- and they include some deep bite marks.

A source close to the situation tells TMZ ... Bow Wow is still recovering the knock-down, drag-out fight he and Kiyomi Leslie Holden got into last weekend in Atlanta.

We already knew from his mug shot that Bow Wow's face was scratched to hell ... but now we can see what looks like at least one nasty bite, and several scratches on his torso.

As we reported ... Bow Wow was arrested in Atlanta early Saturday morning for allegedly hitting Leslie, and she was also arrested for allegedly striking him.

We broke the story ... in 911 audio released from the incident, Kiyomi Leslie claims Bow Wow hit her multiple times, took her phone and refused to let her out of a bedroom in their apartment. 

An additional 911 call was made by the apartment building's manager, claiming a resident heard a male voice saying he would, "Slap the f**k out of this bitch."

Bow Wow and Kiyomi Leslie were both charged with misdemeanor battery. 

21 Savage Cops Say He Had Fully Loaded Glock in Car During Arrest ... Attorney Says It's Not His

2/7/2019 10:56 AM PST

12:28 PM PT -- Contrary to the police report saying ATF was the arresting agency, 21's attorney, Alex Spiro, says, "ICE has confirmed he was targeted for immigration enforcement and nothing more. He was never arrested by the police, and some other individual's firearm and vehicle is not our concern here."

10:56 AM PT -- 21's attorney, Brian Steel, tells us both the Glock and the Dodge the rapper was driving are not his ... Steel would not specify who they belonged to. 

21 Savage was driving recklessly and on a path to slam into a fully-marked cop car and that's why he was pulled over on the day he was taken into custody, and it looks like cops believe he was in possession of a fully loaded Glock ... this according to the police report.

TMZ has obtained 3 police reports which chronicle the events that led to the rapper being hauled into custody on the day of the Super Bowl.

According to the docs, 21 Savage was in a red Dodge Challenger that cops say drove across the sidewalk in an attempt to get onto another street. The cops pulled the car over and ATF agents -- who were also on scene -- ordered 21 to stop and throw the keys out the window. According to the report, 21 threw the keys out, along with a bottle containing an unknown substance.

21 got out of the car and was immediately handcuffed and taken away by ATF. The police report has an evidence inventory section and lists the firearm -- the fully loaded Glock -- as connected to 21 Savage. The gun was found in the glove box in the Dodge 21 was driving. It had an extended magazine.

In the center console, there was a styrofoam cup containing an unknown substance. As for the bottle that was thrown out of the car ... cops don't say what was in it but it was taken into evidence.

What's unclear ... how ICE got involved. We had been previously told ICE directly took 21 Savage into custody at the scene, but according to the various documents, there were a variety of law enforcement agencies involved -- DeKalb K-9 Unit, Vice Unit, Narcotics Unit, ATF, Georgia State Patrol and the DeKalb 90 Unit ... but no mention of ICE. A source at ATF tells ICE was there, but for some reason, the agency is not listed on the report.

And, the documents say the target of the operation was actually another rapper -- Young Nudy -- who was in a separate car driving alongside of 21 Savage.  

There were actually 3 cars involved in the arrest and cops say all of the people inside were connected. One guy -- Kalil Smith, who was in a different car from Savage -- was driving with an M4 rifle in the floorboard with the muzzle pointed in the direction of the officer.  

As we reported, 21 Savage is in the custody of ICE, which is initiating deportation proceedings.  

Originally Published -- 9:58 AM PT

Bow Wow 911 Call GF Says He Hit Her Multiple Times ... Took Her Phone Away

2/6/2019 12:30 PM PST

Bow Wow's girlfriend claims the rapper hit her several times, took her phone and refused to let her out of a bedroom during the 911 call she made to cops.

In the call -- obtained by TMZ -- a distraught Kiyomi Leslie Holden tells the operator she was assaulted by Bow Wow and fled his apartment to make the call. Kiyomi Leslie claims cops showed up for a previous disturbance before the actual arrest, but Bow Wow and two of his friends refused to let her out of a bedroom to speak with officers.  

An additional 911 call was made by the apartment building's manager who claimed a resident called her to complain about the fight. The resident allegedly heard a male voice saying he would, "Slap the f*** out of this bitch."

As we reported ... Bow Wow was arrested in Atlanta early Saturday morning for striking Kiyomi Leslie, but Kiyomi Leslie was also arrested for hitting him. 

Both Bow Wow and Kiyomi Leslie sustained visible, minor injuries ... and they were both charged with misdemeanor battery. 

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