Earlier this week, suspended Empire star Jussie Smollett’s case took an even stranger turn. That is to say, while awaiting future court appearances on a felony charge of making a false police report, the actor/singer’s team claimed that his now-notorious $3,500 check actually disproves claims of a staged attack. While that argument (that Smollett was paying two Nigerian brothers for fitness training, not for them to be accomplices) may or may not go down in court, those two Empire extras, Ola and Abel Osundairo, are now speaking out.
Through their attorney, the brothers released this statement to CBS Chicago:
“My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves.”
The Chicago police have declared that they do not consider these brothers to be suspects. 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. However, TMZ recently published receipts (and texts) that would support Smollett’s claims that he hired the brothers to help him lose 20 pounds for an upcoming video shoot. In other words, this case is as muddled as it was weeks ago, but all Smollett’s attorneys would need to do is create reasonable doubt to successfully defend him.
Smollett’s next Cook County court date will take place on March 14. However, he’s been permitted to leave Chicago and travel within the U.S. until that time.