The brothers involved in the case Jussie Smollett, Olabinjo ("Ola") and Abimbola ("Abel") Osundairo, issued a new statement through the intermediary of their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, expressing their "immense regret For their participation.
"My clients deeply regret having been involved in this situation and understand the impact it has had on the country's population, especially minorities and in particular victims of hate crimes," he said. said Schmidt in a statement delivered to TheWrap on. Thursday night.
As soon as we received the statement, TheWrap contacted Schmidt to ask if the brothers would fully maintain their story that Smollett would have paid them to organize an assault in Chicago on January 29th. Schmidt did not answer our question.
The Smollett representatives did not immediately return our request for comment on this story.
This case had more twists than an episode of the soap opera Smollett's Fox, "Empire". And even though Smollett is still very involved in the Chicago drama, he has a hearing in court next month – the actor / singer is no longer attending season 5 of the television series.
The executive producers of "Empire" announced last Friday that Smollett had been removed from the last two episodes of Season 5 of the Fox hip-hop drama series.
"The events of recent weeks have been incredibly moving for all of us," read the statements of Empire co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, showrunner Brett Mahoney and executive producers Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri and Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer.
"Jussie has been an important member of our" Empire "family for five years and we love her immensely," continues the statement. "While these allegations are very worrying, we are placing our trust in the justice system as the process moves forward. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the actors and team members working on our series. To avoid any further disruption on the set, we decided to remove the role of "Jamal" from the last two episodes of the season. "
The Smollett representatives did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment on the actor who would be removed from the rest of the fifth season of "Empire".
The decision to remove Smollett from the last episodes of season 5 comes after Empire's 20th Century Fox studio declared last Thursday [its] options "on the situation of the actor "We understand the seriousness of this case and we respect the legal process. We evaluate the situation and examine our options. " A day earlier, the studio had renewed its support for the actor stating, "Jussie Smollett continues to be an accomplished professional on the set and, as we have said previously, he has not been able to do anything. Is not out of the series. "
At a press conference last Thursday, shortly after Smollett's surrender, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the actor had assaulted him because he was "unhappy with his salary." ".
The star of the Fox drama earns about $ 125,000 per episode of Empire, told TheWrap, a knowledgeable person, who added that there was no wage conflict between Smollett and the studio and that he had never approached them for an increase.
Smollett – who plays Jamal Lyon, an open gay on the series – went to the Chicago police early Thursday morning, hours after he was formally charged with filing a false police report. He was released from custody later in the afternoon, after posting a bond and surrendering his passport following a bail hearing.
The bond of the actor was set at $ 100,000, while Smollett must pay $ 10,000 (10%) to be released. His next hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at 11:30 am A few hours after his release, Mr. Smollett returned to work on the film set of "Empire".
Smollett's team released the statement last week after the actor was released: "Today we witnessed an organized police show that has no place in the US legal system. The presumption of innocence, cornerstone of the search for justice, was trampled at the expense of Mr Smollett and especially on the eve of an election by the mayor. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable and honest character who keeps his innocence ferociously and solemnly and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to evade due process and go straight to punishment. "
The criminal case against Smollett stems from a report he made public on January 29, claiming that he had been assaulted by two men who had chanted racist and homophobic slurs and referred to " MAGA ". The Osundairo brothers were released without charge on February 15 after police reported "evidence" appeared and the "trajectory" of the investigation changed course. Earlier last week, CNN reported that the Chicago police believed that Smollett could have paid the brothers to stage the attack.
A week before Smollett reported the attack, Fox received a letter threatening Smollett. In mid-February, ABC News announced that the FBI and the US Postal Service were investigating the possibility that Smollett had addressed the threat letter or played a role in its creation and surrender.
In addition to Johnson's comments about Smollett's dissatisfaction with his salary when he spoke to the Chicago police last week, the director also stated that the actor sent the letter to Fox himself. even. When Johnson made these statements for the first time, he did not mention the source or the evidence.
A few minutes later, during the question-and-answer session of the press conference, the Superintendent of Police responded "yes" to a journalist who asked if this information came from the Olabinjo ("Ola") and Abimbola ( "Abel") Osundairo. It turned out to have both worked on "Empire".
Johnson also said the following about Smollett's photographed injuries: "So, of course, this was staged. The brothers wore gloves during the staged attack where they hit him a bit. But as far as we can tell, the scratches and bruises you saw on his face were most likely self-inflicted.
At a subsequent press conference, Cook County Lawyer, Risa Lanier, detailed the relationship that existed between Smollett and Abel Osundairo, claiming he was a source of "synthetic drugs." "For Smollett and they've been friends since late 2017. Lanier also detailed the timeline of events, including when and how Smollett convinced Abel, and later his brother, Ola, to attack him.