The two brothers who were questioned in the Jussie Smollett case have spoken out.
Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, identified by their attorney Gloria Schmidt, spoke to CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar on the phone Monday. They denied having any racist or anti Trump sentiments.
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” the men said in a joint statement.
The Osundairo brothers, who appeared on “Empire” as extras, were arrested last Friday in connection to the alleged attack on the actor. They were released from custody without charges being filed. Sources say that Smollett hired the two brothers to stage the Jan. 29 attack against him. Smollett has claimed that he was brutally beaten, subjected to homophobic and racial slurs. He also claimed bleach was poured on him and that a noose was placed around his neck.
Smollett appeared on Good Morning America Feb. 15. He said he was “pissed off” and angered over attacks against his credibility. Robin Roberts addressed the latest developments in the case on Monday.
“When I sat down with Jussie, it was Tuesday night in Chicago, at the time to give his first account — publicly give his first account — of what he said happened,” Roberts said.
“And we have to remember, at that time, on Tuesday, police officers were saying that his account was consistent, it was credible, and that he was being cooperative. This was all before the interview aired on Thursday, and then we found out about the brothers.”
Police are beginning to believe that the event was a hoax; that the brothers purchased the rope and bleach used in the incident at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25. The attack was designed for publicity as the actor was upset that previous threats, which were cut out racist letters sent to the show, did not garner enough attention.
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source told CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards.
Smollett has continued to insist that he did not fabricate his account of events but has not scheduled a follow up interview with police. His scenes have reportedly been cut from upcoming episodes of “Empire” as the fallout continues from this controversy. He will no longer be the focus of various scenes that centered on his character, Jamal Lyons.