CHICAGO (CBS) — Less than a day after the star witnesses in the Jussie Smollett case backed out of testifying, brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo are now back in, following a dispute about a handgun that had been seized during a police raid of their home while they were still considered suspects.
Attorney Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez offered an explanation in a written statement on behalf of brothers Ola And Abel Osundairo. The statement says that, due to an intervention by special prosecutor Dan Webb the brothers, will now cooperate.
As CBS 2 first reported, the brothers initially pulled out due to an administrative dispute over the whereabouts of a 9mm handgun taken during a raid in February 2019, when brothers were considered suspects. Schmidt-Rodriguez said the gun has been located and the brothers are back on board.
Chicago Police have said Smollett paid the Osundairo brothers $3,500 to stage what Smollett claimed was a racist and homophobic attack against him in January 2019.
Before concluding that Smollett had orchestrated the attack, police raided the bothers’ home as they were returning from a trip to Nigeria and identified them as persons of interest. But they were released without charges after they told police they were paid to stage the attack. Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct, had charges dropped by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, and was subsequently subjected to a fresh round of charges this past February, stemming from Webb’s re-investigation of the case.
All the while, the brothers’ attorney said they were willing to testify against Smollett at trial, but as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, they later backed out, questioning the handling of the storage of their items that were taken from the February 2019 raid.
It was Valentine’s Day 2019 when Chicago Police kicked in the Osundairos’ front door to serve a search warrant when the brothers were still under investigation—taking a whole list of items.
Those items included a safe containing a 9mm gun and ammunition. Abel Osundairo is a legal gun owner
Now that Webb’s office has helped locate the gun seized from their home, the Osundairo brothers say they will again cooperate in the case against Smollett.
Meanwhile, as for Smollett, the new indictment filed against him in February charged Smollett with six counts of disorderly conduct, accuses him of filing false police reports that he was attacked on the way home from Subway in the middle of the night in Streeterville in January 2019.
Cook County prosecutors dropped the original case against Smollett, dismissing 16 counts of disorderly conduct against him last March, without requiring he admit any wrongdoing, in a controversial move just weeks after he’d pleaded not guilty.
Webb later was assigned as a special prosecutor to look into the entire case, after a judge found “unprecedented irregularities” in how Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx handled the case, specifically by handing it over to her second-in-command after announcing she had recused herself.
Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the new indictment. A judge earlier this month denied a request by Smollett to drop the new charges.