Brothers in Empire actor case say they have 'tremendous regret'

Carla Harmon
March 6, 2019

The attorney for Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" told CBS Chicago that the pair feels "tremendous regret" for the entire fiasco.

The two were captured in surveillance video purchasing a red hat and ski masks. Later, the two men that were supposed to have attacked Smollett admitted to being paid by the actor and had been filmed in a store buying the supplies for the attack. He is now facing one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The Empire actor was reportedly targeted because of his race and sexuality, having bleach poured over him and a noose tied around his neck.

The actor, who is black and gay, said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled, "This is MAGA country" - an apparent reference to President Trump's campaign slogan Make America Great Again - before fleeing. They were arrested by eventually released and have cooperated with the police investigation.

The Jussie Smollett case is causing people to ask questions they may otherwise not pay much attention to. Police did obtain a check from Smollett to one of the brothers, who is a personal trainer, but the memo line read that it was for a fitness and nutritional plan for an upcoming music video.

The same day at a press conference, Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson said that Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 for the attack. The Osundairos' statement, while (probably purposely and necessarily) vague, seems to push back on Smollett's explanation of why he wrote that check and sent them a Venmo payment.

The lawyers said in a statement: "Today we witnessed an organised law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system".

Typically, when one thinks of a hate crime, they tend to think of a minority group as the victim. He is now free on $100,000 (£77,000) bail and is due back in court on 14 March.

The accounts dovetail with deleted tweets from Ola Osundairo's Twitter account and a Smollett representative who told Fox reporter Rafer Weigel that Smollett's defense team is going to go hard at the brothers' credibility because their story "doesn't add up". "Did you give them immunity?"

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