CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge on Friday ruled Abel and Ola Osundairo — the star witnesses in the Jussie Smollett investigation — can get back most of the belongings police seized from their home last year when they were still considered suspects in the case.
A dispute over the handling of the items that were seized led to the Osundairo brothers to announce Wednesday they would no longer cooperate in the case, only to change their minds on Thursday, after special prosecutor Dan Webb helped locate a 9mm handgun taken during the raid.
On Friday, Cook County James Linn ruled most of the items seized during the raid, including Abel Osundairo’s guns, would be returned to them, because they were not relevant to the disorderly conduct charges against Smollett.
Smollett’s attorneys had sought to have the guns tested for Ola Osundairo’s fingerprints, because he has a criminal record, and is not allowed to possess any firearms. However, Linn ruled the guns have no relevance to Smollett’s case.
The only items that will remain in police custody will be a ski mask, red hat, and electronic devices that are potential evidence in the Smollett case.
Judge Linn did not find guns relevant to the Jussie Smollett case. Brothers will recieve the majority of their items back from CPD—including guns.
Items like ski mask, red hat, electronic devices/thumb drives etc will remain in evidence.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) June 26, 2020
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. Their attorney, Attorney Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, said Wednesday 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.