Brothers Involved in Jussie Smollett Case Issue Apology, Express 'Tremendous Regret'

Brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who say Empire actor Jussie Smollett hired them to fake a hate crime attack, are speaking out through their attorneys.

The brothers issued an apology Thursday and said they "regret" their actions.

"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," the brothers' attorney, Gloria Schimidt, said in a statement to Chicago CBS affiliate CBS 2.

The brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out a staged attack against him outside his Chicago apartment building in January.

After Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, police initially treated the investigation as a hate crime — but the scope of the investigation changed quickly when the brothers accused Smollett of playing a role in the hoax.

Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. He was released on $100,000 bail following a court date last week and has been officially removed from Empire's final episodes of its current season.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Good Morning America earlier this week that Smollett "damaged" Chicago's reputation with his allegedly false claims.

"I just want people to understand that's a damaging thing to do to a city and to a police department," Johnson said.

"I just hope people don't judge other folks that are victims of these types of crimes because this is just one particular incident. That's the damaging part of it," he continued. "You damage the city's reputation. We don't need any help with that; we really don't."

He also said that police have "a lot more evidence that hasn't been presented yet that doesn't support [Smollett's] version that he gave us."

"There's still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply doesn't support his version of what happened," Johnson said Monday morning.


Despite a report from TMZ that said the $3,500 check Smollett issued the Osundairo brothers was for personal training purposes, Johnson maintained in his interview that the check was to "carry out this incident."

Smollett, meanwhile, has denied that he played a role in carrying out the alleged hoax. Police said they believe Smollett's motive was to get attention, as he was allegedly unhappy with his Empire salary.