Jussie Smollett trial: Where are Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo?
Jussie Smollett is finally getting his day in court after being accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago.
On Monday, November 29, the former 'Empire' actor's trial began in court with jury selections as the actor is facing six felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report after police claimed Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack on a frigid night in January 2019 in a bid to get himself a higher salary on the set of the hit Fox drama. If convicted on the Class 4 felony charges, Smollett could face up to three years in jail. However, experts have said that he’s likely to face probation and possibly some community service.
Who are Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo?
Two Nigerian brothers — Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo — are at the center of the trial. The pair is among the prosecution's star witnesses and will probably testify that they met Smollett on the set of 'Empire' and the actor paid them $3,500 to stage the hate crime and pose as his assailants. Jurors might also get to see surveillance video from more than four dozen cameras which trace the brothers’ movements before and after the reported attack. There is also a video showing the brothers purchasing a red hat, ski masks and gloves from a beauty supply shop hours before carrying out the attack.
The two brothers were arrested in 2019 in connection with Smollett’s hate crime. However, they soon confessed that Smollett had hired them to stage an attack on him. Smollett had alleged that the duo had doused him in bleach and placed a noose around his neck as they shouted that the actor was in "MAGA country" alluding to the phrase that former President Donald Trump popularized.
Where are the brothers now?
The last we heard from the brothers, who are personal gym trainers and aspiring actors, was last year when Page Six reported that they haven't been able to get work after the scandal and had been forced to eat at a “food pantry". “It’s been really hard for them, they’ve tried to kind of jump back into the life they had [and] they couldn’t,” Chicago defense attorney Gloria Schmidt said. “They were getting 4 to 5 auditions a month before, that’s completely dried up. Their talent agent dropped them… they’re eating at the food pantry. It’s not going well for them.”
The attorney also added that Abimbola and Olabinjo won’t feel vindicated until people know they’ve been telling the truth all along, describing the brothers as “very even-keeled". “This is the end of the beginning for them, they know there’s a long road ahead and there’s a lot of things that need to happen before a jury or judge finds they’re truthful,” Schmidt explained. “They have no real skin in the game, they just know their role is to be honest and tell the truth about what happened... They know what happened, they know what he did, he’s making it up to be something that’s not accurate.”