Smollett attorney wants focus on brothers' role in attack

CHICAGO (AP) — Now that charges have been dropped against Jussie Smollett, the "Empire" actor's attorney is trying to shift attention back on two brothers who told police they were paid by Smollett to help stage a racist, anti-gay attack on him.

Investigators should look into the role of brothers Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, who are of Nigerian descent, said attorney Patricia Brown Holmes after prosecutors dropped all 16 charges against Smollett.

"The two men who attacked him have indicated that they attacked him, so we already know who attacked him," Holmes said.

Authorities still believe Smollett concocted the attack in which he said two masked men beat him on Jan. 29. He also said they yelled, "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." Smollett, who is black and gay, also said the men doused him with a chemical and put a noose around his neck. And Smollett told a detective that at least one of the attackers was white, according to Chicago police.

Cook County First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters that prosecutors dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 bond payment and did community service. Magats also said that prosecutors needed to focus their time on violent crimes in Chicago.

Authorities have said Smollett created the hoax because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and wanted to promote his career.

The Osundairo brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage the attack. Smollett said the $3,500 paid to the brothers was for fitness training.

Prosecutors have said Smollett and Abel Osundairo, 25, became friends in 2017 and that Abel Osundairo was a stand-in for a character on "Empire." Court documents said Olabinjo Osundairo, 27, also appeared as an extra in the show.

The two brothers were initially drawn into the investigation after police released grainy images of two "persons of interest" in the area the night of the attack.

Chicago police detained the brothers in mid-February at O'Hare International Airport after their return from Nigeria. They were questioned and their apartment in Chicago was searched.

Within days, police said the brothers were considered suspects in the attack. But then, the two men were abruptly released and were not charged with a crime.

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'Empire' star Jussie Smollett during court appearances
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'Empire' star Jussie Smollett during court appearances
Empire actor Jussie Smollett arrives a news conference after a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett's record "has been wiped clean." Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. (AP Photo/Amanda Seitz)
Empire actor Jussie Smollett appears with a fan as he walks out of the Leighton Criminal Court Building after a hearing Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement Tuesday that Smollett's record "has been wiped clean." Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. (AP Photo/Amanda Seitz)
Actor Jussie Smollett exits courtroom 101 into the hallway at the Leighton Criminal Court Building following an emergency hearing over his disorderly conduct charges on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
US television actor Jussie Smollett attends Leighton Criminal Court with his attorney Tina Glandian (L) on March 14, 2019, in Chicago. - Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read E. JASON WAMBSGANS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves Leighton Criminal Courthouse after his court appearance on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
US television actor Jussie Smollett attends Leighton Criminal Court with his attorney Tina Glandian (L) on March 14, 2019, in Chicago. - Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read E. JASON WAMBSGANS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett (C) leaves Leighton Criminal Courthouse after his court appearance on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Actor Jussie Smollett(C) and team arrive for a court hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 12, 2019 in Chicago. - A Chicago grand jury on March 8, 2019 indicted American actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. Police say Smollett -- who gained fame on Fox musical drama 'Empire' -- staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a bigger paycheck. (Photo by DEREK HENKLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read DEREK HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Jussie Smollett(C) and team arrive for a court hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 12, 2019 in Chicago. - A Chicago grand jury on March 8, 2019 indicted American actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. Police say Smollett -- who gained fame on Fox musical drama 'Empire' -- staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a bigger paycheck. (Photo by Nova SAFO / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOVA SAFO/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 21: Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett has been accused with arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 21: Empire actor Jussie Smollett (partially obscured) leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett has been accused with arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
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They testified before a grand jury, and soon after Smollett was charged with filing a false report of the attack. The brothers' attorney, Gloria Schmidt, said then that the brothers did not testify as part of any plea deal with prosecutors and that they were not granted any immunity from prosecution.

Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday: "The Osundairo brothers were fully prepared to testify in any criminal proceeding in the Jussie Smollett case."

In an interview with AP earlier this month , she said the brothers regretted their involvement.

"It started by them having a relationship with Mr. Smollett. Mr. Smollett being in a position of power over them — him being this celebrity person who could pull strings for them and help them in their career," Schmidt said.

"They were thinking, I'm going to help my friend. He's asking for this," she said.

But Smollett's lawyer said the brothers had backed up the actor's version of events.

"The Osundairo brothers said more than once that the $3,500 check they received was for exactly what Jussie said. They were his trainers," Holmes said.

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