UNITED STATES—On Thursday, June 25, a day after claiming they will no longer cooperate in the prosecution of actor Jussie Smollett, brothers Abel and Ola Osundario agreed to testify and work with authorities.
Abel and Ola Osundario claimed that “Empire” star Smollett paid them $3,500 to attack him on a Chicago street in January 2019. The brothers told the authorities that Smollett organized the attack because he was frustrated with his treatment on the Fox drama and hoped the racist, homophobic attack against him would catch the public’s attention.
On Wednesday, June 24, the brothers announced they would no longer copperate with authorities in the case because the Chicago Police Department did not return a 9 mm handgun that had been seized during a 2019 raid. They believed the police were still treating them as suspects in the case.
Their attorney, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, released a statement on June 25 that read:
“The missing gun was a reason for Abel and Ola’s decision to cease voluntary cooperation, in addition to the unnecessary complication brought to this situation by CPD’s Corporate Counsel in treating them like suspects. Abel and Ola will recommence their cooperation in the Smollett case now that the handgun has been produced by the Special Prosecutor’s office.”
Abel and Ola Osundario were treated like suspects until detectives with the Chicago Police Department agreed not to charge the brothers for their involvement in the attack. Thier home was raided during the authorities investigation.
Schmidt-Rodriguez stated that on June 5, one of the brothers filed a motion requesting to inspect all of the items that were seized during the raid.
Smollett, 38, was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct by Cook County prosecutors including falsely reporting a crime to authorities. He told the police that two masked men attacked him when he was walking home on January 29, 2019. He claimed they made racist and homophobic comments towards him, tied a rope around his neck, dosed him with a liquid (that was believed to be bleach), beat him, and told him that this was “MAGA country,” referring to President Trump’s slogan to “Make America Great Again.”
Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin initially found Smollett’s first prosecution invalid. Another investigation by Toomin accused Smollet of six new felony charges in February 2020. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him.