A last-minute phone call from Jussie Smollett’s lawyers to a Cook County prosecutor postponed the grand jury testimony of two brothers who were once considered potential suspects.
CBS 2 reporter Charlie De Mar reports the brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, were waiting outside the grand jury chambers, minutes away from giving their testimony, when a last-minute call came in from Smollett’s lawyers claiming they had new evidence.
Prosecutors decided the “new evidence” was sufficient enough to postpone the brothers’ grand jury testimony for the day.
The Osundairo brothers were identified as the two men seen in grainy surveillance footage walking away from the Streeterville area in Chicago where Smollett claimed he was attacked on Jan. 29.
The brothers were arrested and later released without charges after they admitted Smollett paid them $7,000 to help him stage the hoax attack.
Two sources tell CBS 2 the men used a ride share service to get to the Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29. The ride share service turned over video of the men to police.
The brothers told police Smollett paid them to purchase a rope and a red hat prior to the alleged attack. One brother tied the rope around Smollett’s neck while the other brother poured bleach on the actor and yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him.
Smollett’s music manager, Brandon Z. Moore, told police he was on the phone with Smollett prior to the attack and he overheard the men yelling “This is MAGA country”.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the investigation into Smollett, which raised questions that she may have shown favoritism to the actor.
One Twitter user wrote: “She’s probably part of the resistance movement. She knows damn well he’s screwed, but doesn’t want to be the one to take him down.”
According to ABC News, the feds are looking into reports Smollett sent a threatening letter containing a powdery substance to himself a week before he was allegedly attacked outside his high-rise condominium.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox reiterated they are standing behind the troubled actor, even as TMZ reported that Fox ordered scriptwriters to remove Smollett’s scenes from the remaining 9 episodes of the 2nd half of season 5. The show returns from winter break in March.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” Fox spokeswoman Amy Bucknam tweeted on Wednesday.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show.” – STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT
— 20th Century Fox TV (@20centuryfoxTV) February 20, 2019
Photo by Maciel / BACKGRID