The two men who allegedly helped “Empire” star Jussie Smollett stage a fake homophobic and racist attack say that they have “tremendous regret” for how the incident has affected minority communities and victims of hate crimes.
Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo released the statement through their attorney Gloria Schmidt to CNN.
“My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves,” Schmidt told CNN on Thursday.
Smollett filed a police report that two men attacked him and shouted homophobic and racial slurs at him in Chicago on Jan. 29. While investigating the report, Chicago Police brought in the Osundairo brothers, acquaintances of Smollett’s, for questioning. The brothers were released without charges.
Smollett eventually was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He turned himself into police on Feb. 21. The same day at a press conference, Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson said that Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 for the attack. According to Johnson, Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary.
Both Smollett’s reps and Fox have denied that Smollett ever expressed dissatisfaction with his pay. Police did obtain a check from Smollett to one of the brothers, who is a personal trainer, but the memo line read that it was for a fitness and nutritional plan for an upcoming music video.
Smollett says he is innocent and his lawyers have promised an “aggressive defense.” He returns to court on March 14.