Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo are prepared to testify at the upcoming trial for Empire actor Jussie Smollett, according to their lawyers, who also mentioned that the two brothers will not feel vindicated unless Smollett is found guilty of lying to police, adding that they do not have any “ill will” toward the actor — only toward his lawyers, for calling them “liars.”
“They have no ill will towards Mr Smollett,” said Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez — one of the lawyers for the Osundairo brothers — to the Daily Mail.
“They really feel like their role in this now is to be honest about what they know,” she added. “They hope he can be honest about what he knows.”
Smollett was recently indicted by a special prosecutor in Chicago over his alleged hate crime hoax last year, in which the actor claimed that he was physically attacked by two men wearing MAGA hats who put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before eventually yelling, “This is MAGA country!”
After the details surrounding Smollett’s claims began to unravel, it became apparent that the actor had paid the two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.
In a shocking move, the initial charges against Smollett were promptly dropped by Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, who was reported to have had close ties with former First Lady Michelle Obama, whose husband — President Barack Obama — Smollett had campaigned for.
On Tuesday, following the actor being charged with lying to police by a special prosecutor, a lawyer representing the Osundairo brothers says that the two are willing to testify — for either side — in Smollett’s trial.
“They don’t feel vindicated,” said Schmidt Rodriguez of the Nigerian brothers. “A real vindication would be when a court of law says, ‘OK Mr Smollett — you were guilty of lying.’ At that point they would.”
The report added that the Osundairo brothers have found Smollett’s lawyers to be “so offensive and so hurtful” in accusing them of lying.
“Who is really attacking their character is just the lawyers,” said Schmidt Rodriguez. “It’s not Jussie. It’s his lawyers who painted my clients to be self-serving sycophants to create a ruse to escape liability.”
“It’s so offensive and so hurtful,” the lawyer added.
The report also mentioned that the Osundairo brothers had said that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, with the goal to boost the actor’s career, adding that the brothers agreed to the plan, not realizing the national attention and media firestorm it would inevitably create.
Schmidt Rodriguez added that had the Nigerian brothers known the hoax would have turned into such a debacle, they would have declined Smollett’s offer.
“If they would have known the fall out, they would have never done this,” she said. “They would have said, ‘ugh Jussie — thanks for nothing.'”
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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