Chicago’s local CBS affiliate has obtained video of the two brothers tied to the alleged staged attack on Empire actor Justice Smollett purchasing ski masks from a store one day prior to the purported assault.
The store’s surveillance footage appears to show Abel and Ola Osundairo bring masks and a red hat to the counter for the cashier to ring up. Smollett told the Chicago Police Department that his assailants wore masks as they hurled racist and anti-gay slurs at him as he walked home from a sandwich shop on January 29. Further, he told police that his attackers looped a think rope around his neck and shouted “This is MAGA country!” before darting from the scene.
The video’s emergence comes after CBS Chicago’s Charlie De Mar reported that at least one of the brothers purchased the rope at Craft Beaver hardware store the weekend of January 25th. The rope was picked up at the direction of Smollett, who paid $3,500 and promised an additional $500 later.
Earlier Wednesday, ABC 7 reported that authorities have issued subpoenas to obtain records from Smollett as police seek to re-question the actor this week. Smollett’s press representative said Monday that the actor has no plans to sit down with detectives, however, his “attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf.”
In a statement to ABC News over the weekend, Smollett’s lawyers said their client was “angered” and “further victimized” by reports that he orchestrated the alleged assault.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, Smollett’s lawyers, told ABC News. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video,” they continued. “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.
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment reaffirmed Wednesday that it has no plans to write the Empire actor out of the series, calling him a “consummate professional on set”