Smollett attorney wants focus on brothers’ role in attack

Lawyer says Jussie Smollett was a crime victim who ‘just wants his life back.’

Now that charges have been dropped against Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor’s attorney is trying to shift attention back on two brothers who told police they were paid by Smollett to help stage a racist, anti-gay attack on him.

Investigators should look into the role of brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, who are of Nigerian descent, attorney Patricia Brown Holmes said after prosecutors dropped all 16 charges against Smollett on Tuesday.

“The two men who attacked him have indicated that they attacked him, so we already know who attacked him,” Holmes said.

On Wednesday, another Smollett attorney, Tina Glandian, told “Good Morning America” that the two brothers were lying. She said Smollett was a crime victim who “just wants his life back.”

Authorities said they still believe Smollett, who is black and gay, concocted the attack in which he said two masked men beat him on Jan. 29. He also said they yelled, “This is MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Smollett also said the men doused him with a chemical and put a noose around his neck. He told a detective that at least one of the attackers was white, according to Chicago police.

Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters that prosecutors dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 bond payment and did community service. Magats also said that prosecutors needed to focus their time on violent crimes in Chicago.

READ MORE: All charges dropped against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

Authorities have said Smollett created the hoax because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and wanted to promote his career.

The Osundairo brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage the attack. Smollett said the $3,500 paid to the brothers was for fitness training.

Prosecutors have said Smollett and Abel Osundairo, 25, became friends in 2017 and that Abel Osundairo was a stand-in for a character on “Empire.” Court documents said Olabinjo Osundairo, 27, also appeared as an extra in the show.

The two brothers were initially drawn into the investigation after police released grainy images of two “persons of interest” in the area the night of the attack. Chicago police detained the brothers in mid-February at O’Hare International Airport after the returned from Nigeria, they were questioned and their apartment in Chicago was searched.

Within days, police said the brothers were considered suspects in the attack. But the two men were then abruptly released and not charged with a crime. They testified before a grand jury.

Soon after, Smollett was charged with filing a false police report of the attack. The brothers’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt, said then that the brothers did not testify as part of any plea deal with prosecutors and that they were not granted any immunity from prosecution.

Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday: “The Osundairo brothers were fully prepared to testify in any criminal proceeding in the Jussie Smollett case.”

In an interview with AP earlier this month , she said the brothers regretted their involvement.

“It started by them having a relationship with Mr. Smollett. Mr. Smollett being in a position of power over them — him being this celebrity person who could pull strings for them and help them in their career,” Schmidt said.

“They were thinking, ‘I’m going to help my friend. He’s asking for this,’” she said.

But Smollett’s lawyer said the brothers had backed up the actor’s version of events.

“The Osundairo brothers said more than once that the $3,500 check they received was for exactly what Jussie said. They were his trainers,” Holmes said.

During her interview Wednesday, Glandian acknowledged that Smollett talked and texted with the brothers in the hours before the attack. She said they discussed training and nutrition as Smollett’s flight to Chicago was delayed.

But she said Smollett had no idea who attacked him until the brothers were later identified by police.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Heather’s Hope Chest offers Chilliwack women and girls a helping hand

The new ‘free store’ for vulnerable women and girls provides them with household items at no charge

Rainbow crosswalk count will rise to 16 in Chilliwack

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

WATCH: Paralyzed ex motocross champion is returning to Chilliwack for book launch

Brent Worrall says he is living proof that no one should ever give up hope

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read