The two men believed to be involved in the attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett may have had financial reasons for participating.
After rumors and speculation, police sources spoke out on Saturday to indicate that they now believe Smollett staged the attack on himself. The current thinking is that brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo allegedly were paid for their part in the staged attack.
"A source close to the investigation tells CBS News that 2 brothers — arrested & then released — told detectives that Smollett paid them to participate in the alleged attack, & that they purchased the rope found around Smollett's neck at a hardware store," CBS News' David Begnaud wrote on Saturday.
The Blast reports that the Osundairo brothers each filed for bankruptcy back in 2016. In the filing, which was made in Chicago, indicated that both brothers have business and student loan debts.
Abel allegedly had $72,771 in liabilities, with $39,000 of that being student loan student loan debt. He allegedly only had $142 in monthly income, which led to $300 in debt monthly.
Ola claimed $161,481 in debt, with $85,000 of that being student loan debt. He is said to have only made $160 per month at the time.
The brothers also owned a party store, It’s Party Time, together, but it now closed.
The bankruptcy proceedings apparently went off as expected, and each brother was discharged several months after the filing.
These financial struggles fit into the narrative police are suggesting, in which Smollett hired them to attack him. However, the Empire star adamantly denied the assumption in a statement to press from his attorneys.
"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the attorneys wrote. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.
"Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to 'unnamed' sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels."0comments
The Osundairo brothers have not made any public statements about the case as of press time.
Photo Credit: Fox