Two brothers who cops allege Jussie Smollett paid to carry out a staged hate crime against him, are now refusing to cooperate with the case because they’re being treated like suspects.
The Chicago Police Department claims Ola and Abel Osundario were paid $3,500 to jump the Empire actor last January before he claimed he was victim of a homophobic attack.
The acting brothers agreed to help police in the case against Smollett but now they have changed their minds because the police are withholding their belongings as part of evidence.
‘It’s been over a year and they need to give us our stuff back,’ Abel Osundairo complained to CBS 2 on Wednesday. ‘I would understand if we were defendants in the case, which we are not.’
Ola and Abel Osundario had agreed to testify against Jussie Smollett (pictured) after police accused him of staging a homophobic attack in January 2019
Abel said the bulk of the items he can’t get back belong to his loved ones.
‘Most of the stuff isn’t even mine,’ Abel said. ‘They belong to my oldest brother, my mother, my sister. They even took my dog’s toy.’
But he’s also concerned about his firearm.
The authorities are in possession of his 9mm gun and ammunition inside a safe.
‘Legally it belongs to me, and I want to know its whereabouts,’ he continued.
His attorney has filed a motion with a judge for the items to be returned.
Abel also filed a police report on Wednesday as part of the administrative dispute.
Police told CBS 2 that the weapon is still in the chain of evidence and they will comply with the order if appropriate.
‘Of course I’m skeptical, because you are saying one thing one day and another thing another day,’ Abel Osundairo said. ‘It’s just another thing we have to go through.’
Police added they will cooperate with a judge’s order to turn over or produce evidence if appropriate.
Earlier this month, a Cook County judge shot down actor Smollett’s attempt have criminal charges against him dropped, telling the actor that the new charges against him do not violate his right against double jeopardy.
Smollett’s attorneys made the double jeopardy argument after a special prosecutor secured a six-count indictment on charges alleging that he lied to police about a racist and anti-gay attack that police say he staged himself.
The new case came months after the county’s state’s attorney’s office abruptly announced it was dropping charges against the actor, angering police and City Hall.
The way Judge James Linn saw it, the only way double jeopardy would apply is if Smollett was legally punished for what had happened to him since he was charged in connection with the January 2019 incident in downtown Chicago.
But Linn determined that the deal in which the state’s attorney’s office agreed to drop charges without requiring Smollett to admit any wrongdoing and Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond did not add up to legal punishment.
Smollett contends that early on January 29, 2019, he was walking home when two masked men approached him, made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.
He said his assailants, at least one of whom he described as white, told him he was in ‘MAGA country’ – a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’
Weeks later, the story that already received international media attention took a shocking twist when police alleged that Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had paid two black friends $3,500 to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on ‘Empire,’ a Fox series about that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry. Smollett was accused of using the scheme to drum up publicity for his career.
Months after local prosecutors made their stunning announcement that they were dropping charges, a judge last August appointed Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney, to look into why those original charges were dropped.
Smollett was indicted again in February. He has maintained his innocence.
It was not immediately clear when Smollett might stand trial. At the same time, Smollett is battling a lawsuit filed by the city seeking more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating his report.