Jussie Smollett had a sexual relationship with one of the Nigerian brothers who allegedly orchestrated his ‘hoax’ attack, a new source claims.
The anonymous insider told Page Six Wednesday that the Empire star, 37, and his purported ‘attacker’ Abel Osundairo also visited an upscale Chicago bathhouse together on multiple occasions.
‘They used to party together and he [Smollet] had a sexual relationship with [Osundairo]. They went to this affluent Chicago bathhouse multiple times and they had to show ID. It’s known as a bathhouse where a lot of affluent black gay men hang out,’ the source stated.
The insider further claimed that there is likely to be records of the pair’s visits to the establishment, and says they could be seized as part of Smollet’s upcoming trial on felony disorder conduct charges.
Smollet says he was attacked by two masked men in Chicago back in January 2019. He claims they poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and shouted racist and homophobic slurs.
An investigation later led police to Abel Osundairo and his brother, Ola, who allege that Smollet paid them $3,500 to stage the attack in a bid to boost his public profile.
Ola Osundairo is a personal trainer who appeared in an episode of Empire. Smollet and Ola reportedly became friendly and traded ‘workout tips’ via text message.
Smollet was subsequently charged with lying to police before the case was later dropped. However, Smollet was indicted again in February of this year following an investigation by a special prosecutor.
Empire star Jussie Smollet (left) and his alleged ‘attacker’ Abel Osundairo (right) had a sexual relationship and visited a Chicago bathhouse for gay men on multiple occasions, a source has told Page Six. Osundairo has previously denied insinuations he is gay; Smollet has not commented on the claims
Abel (left) and Ola (right) Osundairo – who originally hail from Nigeria – have dismissed insinuations that they are gay. Ola met Smollet on the set of the Empire , and the pair later texted each other workout tips. It is still unclear how well Smollet knew Abel before the alleged ‘attack’ in January 2019
Abel and Ola Osundairo – who originally hail from Nigeria – have dismissed insinuations that they are gay.
Smollet’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Mark Geragos, last year insinuated that there may have been a sexual relationship between Smollett and Abel whilst giving an interview on Good Morning America.
The Osundairo brothers sued the lawyers for defamation, claiming the comments put them at risk as their home country’s laws state that homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.
A judge later dismissed the defamation suit.
Abel (left) and Ola (right) Osundairo arrive at court in February of this year after Smollet was indicted again following an investigation by a special prosecutor
Smollett arrives at court in February of this year, after he was indicted on six felony counts of lying to police
The saga began on January 29 last year when it emerged that Smollett told police he had been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack while he was walking home in the early hours of that morning.
He told police afterwards his attackers identified him from the show he was on, Empire, and called him both the N-word and ‘f****t’. He said they beat him, poured bleach on him then put a noose around his neck.
Smollett went back to his apartment where his friend, Frank Gaston, was. It was Gaston who insisted they call police.
When officers arrived, the actor refused to hand over his phone.
He went to the hospital to be checked over but had no major injuries.
The Chicago Police Department vowed to investigate the incident with all its might, and celebrities around the world rushed to share their support of Smollett. He became a household name almost overnight.
But as the police investigation progressed, leaks began from within the police department that all may not have been as it seemed.
Smollet pictured suffering injuries to his face in the hospital after the alleged attack
The Chicago Police Department released videos of Jussie Smollett from the night of his alleged ‘attack’. Pictured here is body camera footage of Smollett still wearing a noose around his neck as police arrive and begin to question him
Smollett poses for a booking photo in February 2019 after he was initially charged by police over what they claimed was a ”hoax attack’. The charges were later dropped. Smollet has now been indicted again following an investigation by a special prosecutor
As the controversy grew, Smollett – determined to make his case – went on Good Morning America where he cried and insisted he was telling the truth.
By then, Chicago PD had released grainy surveillance camera footage of two men walking near the scene of the incident itself which was among the only part of his journey not captured on Chicago’s vast network of security cameras that night.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT TIMELINE
January 29: The ‘hoax’ attack outside Smollett’s apartment in Chicago occurs.
January 30: A wave of public sympathy rushes over Smollett, until then a relatively unknown actor
February 14: After a series of unfavorable leaks from the Chicago PD, Smollett goes on Good Morning America to plead his case.
Unbeknownst to him, brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo are being interviewed by police after returning from Nigeria.
February 20: Smollett is arrested and accused of lying to police.
He is bailed out on a $10,000 cash bond.
March 7: Grand jury indicted Smollett
March 26: Charges dropped
April 11: Chicago sues Smollett for $130,000 – the cost of the investigation
August: Dan Webb is appointed special prosecutor
November: Smollett counter-sues, alleging malicious prosecution
February 11, 2020: Reports emerge that Dan Webb has charged Smollett
Smollett unequivocally identified the two men in the grainy footage as his attackers.
Neither their faces nor skin color could be made out in it.
Unbeknownst to him while he was conducting his GMA interview, the Chicago PD was building a case against him.
They had identified the people in the video as the Osundairo brothers and had backed-up their belief by tracking the pair’s movements in the days and hours both before and after the incident.
Smollett was eventually arrested and charged with suspicion of lying to police.
The brothers flew to Nigeria within hours of the January 29 incident and missed the media storm which followed
When they landed back in the US, police investigators were waiting to question them.
After hours of secret interviews, they told cops that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to carry out the attack as part of an elaborate hoax.
Smollett was then arrested.
In an extraordinary press conference afterwards, then police chief Eddie Johnson accused him of inflaming race relations in Chicago and of wasting police time.
He bellowed that Smollett had tried to leverage the ‘attack’ to get his bosses at Empire to pay him more.
Despite police outrage, prosecutor Kim Foxx was quiet.
The case then went to a grand jury which returned a stunning, 16-felony indictment that would have put Smollett behind bars for more than 50 years if he had been convicted.
By then, Foxx had informally recused herself from the case.
Her conflict of interest was that in the early days of the police investigation, she intervened at the request of Smollett’s family and their friend – Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen – who wanted the FBI to take over the police investigation.
They said they were worried by the number of leaks that had come from the Chicago PD and asked Foxx to help. She said she would try.
After the grand jury indictment, the case stalled for a few weeks.
Smollet is pictured speaking about the alleged ‘attack’ on him in March 2019
Then, in March, Foxx’s deputy Joseph Magats – who had taken over – announced the decision that the charges against Smollett had been dropped.
Foxx had intervened again, it emerged, and pointed to what they called ‘alternative prosecution’ whereby Smollett, a first-time offender, was let off with a $10,000 bail forfeiture and community service.
There was outrage and calls for Foxx to be investigated herself for prosecutorial misconduct.
As judges and special prosecutors for that task were tossed around, the city came out swinging in civil court. They sued Smollett, asking him to reimburse them for all the money they said they’d wasted investigating what they believed were bogus claims.
Smollett counter-sued, accusing the city and Eddie Johnson of malicious prosecution. He lost his job on Empire and became a pariah in the showbiz world he was allegedly trying to ascend through.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb was appointed last August to examine what occurred in the case.
After the investigation, Smollett was indicted in February on six counts pertaining to making four false police reports.
Abel Osundairo is pictured following his arrest for his alleged role in ‘staging’ Smollet’s ‘attack’
Ola Osundairo is pictured following his arrest for his alleged role in ‘staging’ Smollet’s ‘attack’
He returned to court on February 24 and pleaded not guilty.
Smollet’s attorney Tina Glandian issued a statement at the time saying: ‘The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.’
However, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a damning indictment of Smollet saying: ‘He committed a crime, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we are going to continue to aggressively make him accountable for the wasted police resources that went into investigating what turned out to be a total hoax.’
The case is ongoing.