The Nigerian brothers tangled up in the Jussie Smollett case plan to testify against the actor in court, according to their attorney.
Abel and Ola Osundairo claim Smollett paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate a hate crime hoax against him last January.
Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, the Osundairo brothers’ attorney, told the Daily Mail on Wednesday that they won’t be happy until they see Smollett found guilty of lying to Chicago police.
“They have no ill will towards Mr Smollett. They really feel like their role in this now is to be honest about what they know,” Schmidt Rodriguez said. “They hope he [Smollett] can be honest about what he knows.”
Schmidt Rodriguez also said the resultant publicity from the brothers’ involvement in the Smollett case had been harmful to their personal life and ability to earn a living as personal trainers.
“If they would have known the fall out they would have never done this. They would have said, ‘ugh Jussie – thanks for nothing,'” she said.
The Osundairos filed a lawsuit against one of Smollett’s attorneys last year, accusing her of lying during appearances on “Good Morning America” and on a podcast.
Jussie Smollett charged, again
Smollett was charged on Tuesday in a six-count felony indictment accusing him of staging a phony hate crime in Chicago, nearly a year after similar charges were abruptly dismissed by local prosecutors.
The indictment, capping a five-month special prosecutor’s probe, accuses Smollett, who is black and openly gay, of making four separate false reports to Chicago police related to his account of being the victim of a violent hate crime.
Smollett’s lawyer, Tina Glandian, said the special prosecutor’s use of police detectives who took part in the original investigation of her client raised “serious questions about the integrity” of his renewed prosecution.
The previous charges “were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence,” Glandian said. The attempt to prosecute Smollett anew ahead of the Cook County state’s attorney primary election next month “is clearly all about politics, not justice,” she said.
Smollett, 37, has insisted he told the truth when he reported that he was accosted on the street in January 2019 by two masked men who threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressions of support for President Donald Trump.
Don’t worry Jussie, I just heard they indicted the guy who did this to you.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 11, 2020
The allegations, which Smollett publicly detailed in an emotional interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last February, made national headlines at the time. Many other celebrities, as well as activists, politicians and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of Trump’s America.
How Jussie Smollett was indicted the first time
However, police arrested Smollett a month later, accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in an effort to use the notoriety to advance his career.
The dismissal of the original case on March 26, 2019, three weeks after Smollett was first charged in a 16-count indictment, drew an outcry from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent, who branded the reversal a miscarriage of justice.
The state’s attorney’s office said its decision to drop the charges as part of an agreement with Smollett to forfeit his $10,000 bond was a just outcome.
Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney, who is running for reelection, claimed that she recused herself from the case after speaking to a relative of Smollett at the request of Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff. But she later said she only recused herself “in a colloquial sense.”
In April, the city of Chicago sued Smollett for $130,000 in costs related to investigating his allegations.
The special prosecutor is still investigating
Smollett, who played a singer-songwriter on the Fox television hip-hop drama “Empire” before he was dropped from the show, sued the city of Chicago in November, accusing municipal officials of maliciously prosecuting him.
A Cook County grand jury returned the new indictment after the special prosecutor found “reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett,” Webb said in a statement released in conjunction with the indictment.
Webb said he has yet to reach a conclusion as to whether local prosecutors or anyone else involved in the case engaged in wrongdoing, saying that aspect of his inquiry was continuing.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)
- Jussie Smollett/Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo.: Courtesy