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|Brothers say Jussie Smollett paid them to participate in alleged attac||anonymous|
Like nobody saw this coming-
Brothers say Jussie Smollett paid them to participate in alleged attack,
Last Updated Feb 17, 2019 3:09 AM EST
The two Nigerian brothers arrested in connection with the assault on
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett are no longer suspects in the attack.
They're now cooperating with police.
A source close to the investigation confirms to CBS News the brothers told
detectives Smollett paid them to participate in the alleged attack on
January 29 and that they purchased the rope — which was found around
Smollett's neck — at a nearby hardware store. The source said detectives
have evidence to corroborate the sale, something the men's attorney
alluded to Friday night.
"New evidence that was brought to their attention, obviously I had it, my
clients had it," said Gloria Schmidt, the brothers' attorney.
The Chicago Police Department released a statement Saturday night saying
information from the brothers had "shifted the trajectory of the
"We can confirm that the information received from the individuals
questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the
trajectory of the investigation. We've reached out to the Empire cast
member's attorney to request a follow-up interview."
Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued a
statement late Saturday saying Smollett was "angered and devastated" by
reports that he knew the people associated with the alleged attack.
"One of these purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he
hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to
believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against
Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity," the statement said.
The attorneys said the actor would continue to cooperate with authorities
as the investigation continues. "At the present time, Jussie and his
attorneys have no inclination to respond to 'unnamed' sources inside of
the investigation, but will continue discussions through official
channels," the statement said.
Police said the two men — identified as Ola and Abel Osundairo — were
captured on surveillance video at the time that Smollett said he was
Ola Osundairo is connected to Smollett through the hit show "Empire" where
he played a prisoner in season two.
Both brothers apparently left Chicago on the day of the alleged attack and
were detained when they returned Wednesday. Chicago detectives tore
through their apartment looking for clues, and an evidence log shows they
found ropes, masks and bleach. They were released Friday night without
Jussie Smollett at the New York City Center on Nov. 28, 2018. Theo Wargo /
A Chicago Police Department spokesperson said "detectives have additional
investigative work to complete."
In a recent interview with "Good Morning America," Smollett said he was
sure the men in the photo were his attackers.
"And then I see the attacker, masked. And he said, 'This is MAGA country,
n*****.' Punches me right in the face. So, I punched his ass back,"
Smollett said. "I think what people need to hear is just the truth."
Smollett has not spoken publicly about the arrest and subsequent release
of the two brothers. Earlier this week, Chicago police said Smollett is
still being treated as a victim, not a suspect.
An attorney for Smollett did not immediately return CBS News' request for
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