The special prosecutor in Jussie Smollett’s case met last week with two Nigerian-American brothers who police say helped the actor stage a “hate crime” against himself.
Abel and Ola Osundairo — who were originally suspected in the attack— were caught on video visiting the office of Dan Webb, according to TMZ. The brothers each spent a couple hours with the prosecutor’s team, the tabloid reported, citing anonymous sources.
In January, Smollett, then a star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, made national headlines by claiming that two masked men jumped him outside his Chicago apartment, calling him racist and homophobic slurs and shouting, “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” According to his account, they poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
How Jussie Smollett got a special prosecutor
Chicago police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime. Many other celebrities as well as activists, politicians and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of President Donald Trump’s America.
However, in February, police arrested Smollett and charged him with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly orchestrating the attack as a publicity stunt. Fox cut ties with the actor and removed him from the final two episodes “Empire” Season 5, which was canceled after one more season.
Then, in April, Chicago police sued Smollett for $130,000 in costs related to investigating his allegations. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in August appointed Webb, a former federal prosecutor, to reinvestigate the case of Smollett.
Webb has the power to reinstate charges.
Meanwhile, Smollett has maintained his innocence.
Responding last week to a mocking Instagram post by self-help internet personality Derrick Jackson, Smollett slammed those who don’t believe his debunked story.
“With all due respect brother, y’all can clown me all you want but my story has actually never changed and I haven’t lied about a thing,” Smollett told Jackson. “Y’all can continue to be misinformed, internalized sheep, who believe what actual proven liars feed you or you can read the actual docs. Either way, Imma be alright. I know me and what happened. You don’t. So carry on. All love.”
Smollett’s lawyer William J. Quinlan, last month told The Chicago-Sun Times: “My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations.”