CHICAGO (AP) – Two brothers who have said they helped actor Jussie Smollett carry out a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago last year are no longer planning to work with the authorities, their lawyer said.
But a lawyer said that even if Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo stop working together, it won’t hurt the case, as prosecutors can present the brothers’ previous testimony to a large jury.
“What they said is already under oath on paper,” said David Erickson, a former appeals judge who teaches at the Chicago Kent College of Law.
At the heart of the brothers ‘change of heart is a growing frustration at the authorities’ refusal to return their belongings – including a gun – that was confiscated early last year during the police investigation that led to the arrest of the ” Empire “actor.
“(The brothers) were like, ‘Gloria, we’ve had it, we’ve been so patient,’ their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, told the Chicago Tribune after writing a letter to the police attorney.” Everything what we delivered to the office is without subpoena … Instagram posts, social media posts, phone data, whatever we need and want, produced them. That ends now. We have clearly been too accessible to them. ‘
Schmidt even informed the lawyer of the police that they will, whether or not they get their belongings back, cooperate, according to a letter from the newspaper.
Erickson said that if they refuse to testify, they could be convicted of contempt of court, and prosecutors could also accuse them of participating in what the authorities said was a phased attack.
Do they want that? ” he said.
The threat of not cooperating is the latest turn in a story that has been full since January 2019, when Smollett told police that two masked men had approached him in downtown Chicago, made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and loop around him. his neck before he fled.
The story included Smollett’s claim that his attackers told him he was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” There was national attention for the case both when the incident occurred and later when police claimed that Smollett had committed the attack with the help of the brothers to get publicity for his career.
Smollett, who reportedly paid the brothers $ 3,500 to help him launch the attack, was charged with lying to the police before the Cook County State Department announced that the charges would be dropped. A judge then ordered a special prosecutor to open an investigation, and the special prosecutor later received a new charge against Smollett. Smollett has kept his innocence.
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