- Jussie Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian defended her client on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Thursday morning.
- “TODAY” host Savannah Guthrie questioned the inconsistencies in Smollett’s story, saying he first said white men had attacked him in the January incident in Chicago.
- Two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, claim Smollett hired them to stage the hate crime, which happened in Chicago two months ago
- Glandian, however, stood by her client’s claim that he was a victim, saying the brothers may have worn “whiteface” during the attack.
Jussie Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian suggested that two Nigerian brothers who claim the “Empire” actor hired them to stage a hate crime two months ago may have been wearing “whiteface” during the incident.
Glandian appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Thursday morning, two days after all charges were dropped against Smollett, who had been accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself in Chicago in January.
Chicago Police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have expressed outrage over the dropped charges, and the prosecutor who dropped the charges said he still believes Smollett is guilty. President Donald Trump called the dropped charges an “embarrassment,” and said FBI and the Justice Department would review the case.
Glandian, however, stood by Smollett’s claim that he was a victim, saying “nothing improper was done” before the charges were dropped.
“TODAY” host Savannah Guthrie questioned the inconsistencies in the case, noting that when Smollett first reported the attack he said the suspects were white.
Glandian told Guthrie that Smollett had only seen one of the attackers, and almost all of the suspect’s face was covered with a ski mask, except for the space around his eyes.
“He did tell police that he — from what we saw, he thought it was pale skin or white or pale skin, was I think what he said,” she said of Smollett’s report.
She went on to suggest that the brothers, who claim Smollett hired them to stage the attack — Ola and Abel Osundairo — had worn whiteface during a Batman sketch posted online.
“Obviously, you can disguise that. You can put makeup on. There is, interestingly enough, a video … I think police had minimal investigation in this case, it took me only five minutes to Google,” she said. “I was looking up the brothers, and one of the videos that showed up actually was of the brothers in whiteface doing a Joker monologue with white makeup on him. So, it’s not — it’s not implausible.”
Prosecutors said earlier this week that charges were dropped against Smollett after he forfeited his $10,000 bail and they reviewed the case and the actor’s recent community service at Jesse Jackson’s nonprofit.
Smollett spent 16 hours volunteering at the civil-rights and social justice organization, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, between Saturday and Monday speaking with visiting parents and students, and working in its bookstore.
In a statement about his volunteering, Rainbow PUSH Coalition said Smollett is a member of the organization and that the community service was not court-ordered.
The Chicago Police Department released police reports in the Smollett case in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from WGN Chicago.
Shortly after the redacted reports were posted online, Chicago Police were barred from releasing more information about the case because of a court order, according to ABC reporter Josh Margolin.
- Read more:
- How ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett went from victim, to suspect, to cleared of all charges after reporting a hate crime
- The prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he still believes the ‘Empire’ actor is guilty
- Chicago Police say the city is ‘owed an apology’ after prosecutors dropped charges against Jussie Smollett
- Prosecutors have dropped charges against Jussie Smollett after he was accused of faking a hate crime in Chicago