There’s really no question that Empire actor Jussie Smollett is in major legal trouble following his alleged staged hate crime. On Thursday morning, he was formally charged with a felony for filing a false police report. Whether he will be sent to jail or get off with only probation is still yet to be decided. But what about the other two men who played a major role in the hoax? Smollett allegedly paid Abel and Ola Osundairo $3,200 to serve as his fake attackers in the scheme. After they were arrested as suspects for what police originally thought was a hate crime, they saved themselves by revealing Smollett’s real motives, according to The Washington Times.
The Osundairo brothers were caught on video surveillance in downtown Chicago the night the incident took place. They fit the description that Smollett gave to law enforcement of the men who attacked him. The actor even went on live television saying he had no doubt in his mind that those men were the individuals who had targeted him by yelling racist and homophobic slurs. He also claimed that they threw bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck.
It became clear that Smollett was going to let the brothers go to jail if it meant that his story looked more authentic. Thus, the brothers told police everything and were released from custody.
Chicago-based defense attorney Gal Pissetzky believes police are more focused on going after Smollett than the Osundairo brothers.
“I don’t think they are going to bother spending resources on charging them. They would rather get the big fish, Smollett.”
Whether or not the brothers are held accountable for the part they played in the hoax is dependent on several factors that have not yet been made clear. Police haven’t revealed whether or not the brothers knew how far Smollett was going to take the hoax before becoming involved. The actor’s motive for staging the entire thing was reportedly to get more publicity and be awarded a higher salary at Fox. If the Osundairo brothers were aware of this, they could be wrapped up in a charge of conspiracy.
If the brothers are charged in the case, it likely won’t be because of any injuries they caused Smollett. Smollett was almost entirely uninjured during the staged attack. Reports saying the actor suffered broken ribs as a result of the incident were later proven false. Photographs do show Smollett with small cuts on his face, however police now believe these could have been self-inflicted.