This was definitely expected…
The Nigerian brothers Jussie Smollett allegedly hired to stage his attack is now accusing the singer/actor of taking advantage of their friendship.
The Empire star has been charged with 16 felony counts for reportedly lying to police about being assaulted by racists outside his apartment in Chicago, Illinois on 29 January.
Authorities initially began investigating Smollett’s claims as a suspected hate crime, but then turned their attentions to the 36 year old’s actions after questioning brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo as potential suspects. The siblings claim Smollett paid them to help him pull off the hoax after meeting through his work on the FOX drama series ‘Empire,’ and they were subsequently released without charge.
Smollett has vehemently denied the accusations, but now Gloria Schmidt, an attorney for the Osundairos, has slammed the actor for reportedly involving her clients in the fake attack.
“My clients were just taken advantage of by someone they trusted,” Schmidt told Good Morning America. “This was someone who the brothers thought could help their career… Someone they had trusted to consider their best interests.”
Investigators believe a $3,500 check Smollett cut to the siblings, listed as payment for a five-week nutrition and workout program for a forthcoming music video, was actually intended as compensation for beating the star up – allegations Schmidt backs up.
“They were paid for the training… but they were also asked to do this favor for him…,” she said. “The favor was to stage the attack.”
Schmidt insists her clients regret participating in the purported hoax, and are doing their best to move forward in a “positive direction.”
Just one of the felony charges carries a three-year sentence behind bars if Smollett is convicted, which means Smollett could potentially spend decades in jail. He is set to be arraigned on Thursday.