The twists and turns continue in the Jussie Smollett case. At this point, no one knows who is telling the truth: the Chicago Police Department or the “Empire” actor. Now, the lawyer for Smollett’s alleged accomplices, Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, appeared to only make things worse in an awkward interview on “Good Morning America” on Monday.
Gloria Schmidt told George Stephanopoulos that the $3,500 the Chicago Police Department claimed the brothers were paid for staging the attack was actually for fitness training.
“They were paid for the training … but they were also asked to do this favor for him,” she said.
When pressed about whether there was any evidence to back up their claims, she said they were asked to “do this favor.”
When pushed on what incentive brothers had to stage the attacked, Schmidt said, “If you’re friends, and I’m saying ‘Hey, I’m going to pay you for training, I’m also asking you to do me a favor’ … and the favor was to stage the attack.”
Schmidt claimed the brothers also feel “taken advantage of,” but she wouldn’t directly answer if she thought the attack was a hoax.
“I’m confident that they did not do a hate crime,” Schmidt said.
Smollett on Friday was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
“What is happening here is frankly a media gangbang of this guy of unprecedented proportions,” the actor’s lawyer, Mark Geragos told CNN on Friday. “And that’s the reason I got into this. I’ve never seen a media pendulum swing more quickly and viciously and rob somebody of their presumption of innocence like this case. It’s startling the way people assume that he’s guilty.”
He continued, calling out the Chicago Police Department.
“He hasn’t been given one stitch of discovery. There isn’t one police report,” Geragos said. “Your package just said he paid $3,500. I’ve got the texts. Those texts––and they conceded that the check and the texts were for training. It wasn’t to pay anything. So I don’t understand how it comes from.”
Geragos also challenged the idea that Smollett staged an attack because he wanted a higher salary on the prime time soap opera.
“They have not talked to one person at Fox who has said he was dissatisfied with his money,” he said. “They have not interviewed one person connected with the show ‘Empire; who says he was dissatisfied with his money. They are the ones that started their internal investigation about the leaks because all of the information that was being leaked was false.”
He also accused Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson of tainting the jury pool.
Watch Geragos below:
On Jan. 29, while walking to a subway, Smollett claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, investigators told The Hollywood Reporter. They allegedly punched and poured bleach on him while one of the suspects put a rope around his neck. As they fled the scene, Smollett told police they said, “This is MAGA country.”
The Chicago Police Department claimed the Osundairo brothers told them the attack was orchestrated by Smollett and that they were paid $3,500. However, TMZ reported the FBI said the Chicago Police were “overstating” and “went too far” when they said Jussie sent a hateful Jan. 22 letter to himself.
TMZ also reported, “We’re told authorities are trying to determine if the pages have the lettering found in the letter. They’re also checking the postage stamp against the stamps found in the brothers’ apartment.” The Nigerian brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, denied sending the letter.