The attorney for two brothers who law enforcement officials say helped concoct and then perpetrate an allegedly phony racist and homophobic assault on the streets of Chicago claims her clients are the victims and that they were taken advantage of by Smollett, an actor on Empire who reportedly paid the Nigerian bros $3500–combined–to help facilitate the “crime”.
Attorney Gloria Schmidt told Good Morning America in an interview Monday morning that Smollett was “in a position of trust” with the Osundairo brothers.
“They worked with Jesse, they had known him, they were friends with him,” Schmidt said. “This was someone who the brothers thought could help their career. Obviously, Mr. Smollett has connections, he had a good position with Fox, so this was someone that they had trusted to consider their best interests.”
Meanwhile, the brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola, were questioned and released by police shortly after they were taken into custody. They reportedly came clean with cops, and have not been criminally charged.
Smollett, meanwhile, was last week indicted on 16 charges related to the incident. He posted $100,000 bail to get out of jail. He could face a prison sentence if convicted.
Smollett infamously went on national television and tearfully and emotionally gave his best Angela Bassett-ish performance by recounting what many said was an unlikely tale of woe from the onset. Smollett also railed against anybody who claimed he was making the whole thing up,
Even though the shish seems to have completely hit the fan, Smollett continues to maintain his innocence.
Hollywood however has put a halt on Smollett’s career for now anyway. Tentative projects featuring Smollett have been momentarily shelved and his future role on Empire continues to be the subject of speculation.