CHICAGO — The brothers arrested and released in connection with the attack on actor Jussie Smollett are no longer suspects at this time, Chicago police said Monday.
The men — who attorney Gloria Schmidt identified as Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo — were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.”
In a joint statement issued to WBBM, the men said: “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation said police believe Smollett paid the brothers to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.
Smollett denies playing a role in his attack, according to a statement from his attorneys.
The sources said the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.
Police say they want to talk to Smollett again. The actor’s reps said Smollett would not be speaking to police Monday, and it’s unclear when he will sit down with investigators.
“Smollett’s attorneys will keep an active dialogue going with Chicago police on his behalf. We have no further comment today,” Anne Kavanaugh with Media Pros 24/7 said.
Smollett told authorities he was attacked early Jan. 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
The sources said there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.
Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued a statement Saturday night saying Smollett was angry about these latest developments.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
Smollett identifies as gay and since 2015 has played the gay character of Jamal on the Fox TV drama “Empire.”AlertMe