"They understand the impact this has had on the citizens of the country, especially minorities and in particular the victims of hate crimes," said Gloria Schmidt, lawyer for the Olabinjo brothers and Abimbola Osundairo.
But now, the police say that Smollett hired the Osundairo brothers and paid them $ 3,500 to stage the attack. Smollett faces a charge of disorderly conduct for falsely claiming to have been attacked, police said.
Chicago defense attorney Steven Hunter told CNN in an email that his disorderly conduct was not generally considered a crime. But national and international attention on the case probably made the accusation more significant for the defendant, he said. And that could have an impact on any future punishment if he is found guilty, he said.
"From my experience, the more publicity a case has, the more bad it is for the defendant," Hunter said.
Investigators believe that Smollett organized the attack "because he was not happy with his salary," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson, citing information that the brothers had provided to the police.
The actor "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," Johnson said.
Smollett now has a $ 10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on March 14th.
The brothers are cooperating fully in their investigation and are no longer suspects, the Chicago police said. They were released without charge after being arrested last month.