The attorney for the brothers behind the alleged attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett spoke out in their defense during an appearance on Good Morning America on Monday (March 11). In an exclusive interview with GMA’s George Stephanopolous, attorney Gloria Schmidt said definitively that brothers Abindola and Olabinjo Osundairo were asked by Smollett to stage the attack as a “favor” to the star.
“I’m confident that they did not do a hate crime,” she said when asked by Stephanolopolous to confirm that the attack was a hoax, which is how Chicago Police superintendent Eddie Johnson characterized the Jan. 29 incident in which Smollett claimed that two men set upon him on a Chicago street and shouted racist and homophobic slurs while striking him, putting a rope around his neck and pouring bleach on his body.
Schmidt maintained that there is evidence to back up the brothers’ claims that Smollett masterminded the alleged attack and claimed the Empire star “took advantage of” the men by involving them in the plot. She was also quick to clarify that her clients were indeed paid by Smollett for their personal training services, as evidenced by an image of a $3,500 check circulating in the media.
On Friday (March 8), Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a Chicago grand jury for allegedly falsifying a police report and lying to authorities about the supposed hate crime.
Watch the full GMA segment below.