The identities of two brothers connected to an investigation into the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett were revealed Friday.
The two actors are named Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo and hail from Nigeria, according to the Daily Mail. On Wednesday, the pair were arrested by Chicago Police officers at O’Hare Airport upon arriving back to the U.S. from a trip to visit family in Nigeria and taken in for questioning.
Daily Mail reports:
Ola appeared on Empire in 2015 and both brothers have had minor roles on Chicago PD.
Smollett follows their joint Instagram account and, according to their lawyer, sometimes goes to the gym with them.
DailyMail.com has identified photographs of one of the brothers inside the gym in Smollett’s apartment building in June. The gym is private to residents of the luxury condominium building.
The brothers’ names are also included on a list of evidence that was left at their home after Chicago PD officers ransacked it on Thursday and the pair are listed in public records as the tenants of that house.
In a video shared to Instagram January 9th, one of the brothers is seen practicing gym poses while playing a song by Smollett called “HaHa (I Love You).”
A lawyer for the brothers told CBS 2 that her clients could be charged on Friday. “They were actually detained at customs at O’Hare airport yesterday around 5:45 p.m.,” lawyer Gloria Schmidt said. “They had no idea what was going on, and they’ve been detained since then.”
“When they first learned about what happened to him they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that,” she continued.
Schmidt confirmed to CBS 2 that the brothers were extras on Empire and went to the gym with Smollett.
“They are really baffled why they are people of interest,” the lawyer said. “They really don’t understand how they even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they are not guilty of it.”
Chicago police Anthony Guglielmi on Thursday said detectives were questioning the two individuals — but said neither of them were “considered suspects at this time.”
According to Guglielmi, the brothers were seen on surveillance cameras in the neighborhood where the alleged incident took place.
The developments come as law enforcement continues to investigate the case, which began with Smollett telling police two masked individuals shouted racist and homophobic insults at him and sprayed him with an unknown chemical substance on January 29. The 36-year-old also told law enforcement the alleged assailants looped a rope around his neck and shouted “This is MAGA country” before fleeing the scene.