The bodybuilding brothers from Nigeria who became embroiled in the Jussie Smollett hate hoax are reportedly refusing to work with prosecutors against the former Empire actor despite previously stating they would, adding another twist to the complicated celebrity saga.
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo are no longer willing to cooperate with Smollett’s prosecution, according to a letter from their lawyer obtained by the Chicago Tribune. They are reportedly objecting to the way police have handled property taken from their home as part of the investigation in Smollett.
The Tribune reported that the brothers’ attorney has asked for the return of those belongings, including several firearms, ammunition, and magazines. But the process has become “a paperwork nightmare,” according to the letter.
The brothers have apparently had enough. “My clients are advising that whether they receive their items or not, they will no longer be cooperating with the prosecution of Mr. Smollett,” Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, the brothers’ attorney, wrote.
The Osundairo brothers are key witnesses in the Smollett case. The former Empire star allegedly hired the muscle-bound siblings to help stage a hate hoax last year in Chicago.
Smollett originally claimed that he was assaulted by two supporters of President Donald Trump who put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. But his story collapsed after it emerged that the incident was a fabrication.
The case was mysteriously dropped last year and Smollett appeared to be off the hook. But in February, Smollett was indicted by a special prosecutor on new charges of filing false police reports falsely claiming he was the victim of a violent hate crime attack.
Smollett tried to have the new criminal charges against him dropped, but earlier this month, a judge dismissed the actor’s claim that the fresh charges against him violate his right against double jeopardy.
The Osundairo brothers provided testimony to a grand jury last year. But their cooperation appears to have come to an end, at least for now.
Their attorney told the Tribune that the brothers felt disrespected and frustrated with the process of getting their belongings back, to the point where they are no longer interested in helping prosecutors in Smollett’s case.
“(The brothers) were, like ‘Gloria, we’ve had it, we’ve been so patient,” she told the newspaper. “Everything we’ve provided the office is without subpoena … Instagram messages, social media posts, phone records, whatever it is we’ve needed, and wanted, they’ve produced. That ends now. We’ve obviously been too accessible for them.”