The two brothers who allegedly helped Jussie Smollett stage an attack on himself have expressed regret over their involvement in the incident, CNN reports.
Smollett, 36, who plays gay performer Jamal Lyon on the Fox drama Empire, reported January 29 that he was brutally attacked in Chicago by two masked assailants using racist and homophobic slurs. These attackers also allegedly tied rope around the out actor’s neck and poured bleach on him.
Brothers Olabinjo “Ola” and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, initially questioned by police as suspects, “shifted the trajectory of the investigation” by providing evidence that they had been paid $3,500 by Smollett to orchestrate the assault.
The Chicago Police Department confirmed last week that Smollett had been apprehended and was in custody. He was released on bail and is due back in court March 14.
The brothers who allegedly took part in what police say was a staged attack on actor Jussie Smollett are expressing "tremendous regret" for their involvement https://t.co/UGKNhZgTx9 pic.twitter.com/WLXP6XXN9a
— CNN (@CNN) March 1, 2019
“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,” said Gloria Schmidt, the Osundairo brothers’ attorney, in a statement issued this week.
The brothers, who are of Nigerian descent, are believed to be acquaintances of Smollett. “We are not racist,” they said following their arrest and subsequent release without charges. “We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
Despite Chicago PD’s claims during a press briefing that Smollett may have organized the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire, the actor maintains his innocence. His attorneys have denounced the police for “an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.”
Smollett is charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false police report. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison.