The two brothers who allegedly helped stage an attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett six weeks ago were “taken advantage of” by the star, their lawyer tells ABC’s Good Morning America.
“What I can tell you right now is the tremendous regret that they have over their involvement in this situation,” attorney Gloria Schmidt said in an interview Monday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.
On January 29th, Smollett was attacked. He claims the assailants were two men wearing masks, and that they shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him. (He is black and gay). Later, police questioned Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, calling them “persons of interest,” but later released the pair after they reportedly claimed Smollett paid them $3,500 to orchestrate and stage the hate crime.
The memo line on the check read that it was for personal training. Schmidt told GMA that the check was for training, and the staged attack.
“They were training together and so they were paid for that, but they were also asked to do this favor for him,” Schmidt said.
She added that the brothers “trusted” him ad that he “really just took advantage of them. They worked with Jessie, they've known him, they were friends with him. This was someone who the brothers thought could help their career. Obviously Mr. Smollett has connections,” she added. “This later turned out to be a big betrayal.”
On Friday, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts, but he and his lawyer maintain his innocence.