New information revealed in redacted Chicago Police Department reports from the Jussie Smollett criminal investigation calls into question the actor's claim that a check he wrote to two brothers for $3,500 was for fitness training, CBS Chicago reports.
According to the documents, which CBS Chicago obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Osundairo brothers told police their average hourly pay rate for personal training ranges between $20 and $50. At their maximum hourly rate, Smollett would have paid for 70 one-hour training sessions with the single check.
The brothers -- Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, who are of Nigerian descent -- told police Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage a racist, anti-gay attack on him.
Authorities still believe Smollett concocted the attack in which he said two masked men beat him in late January. He also said they yelled, "This is MAGA country" -- an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Smollett, who is black and gay, also said the men doused him with a chemical and put a noose around his neck. And Smollett told a detective that at least one of the attackers was white, according to Chicago police.
Authorities have said Smollett created the hoax because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and wanted to promote his career.
Prosecutors have said Smollett and 25-year-old Abel Osundairo became friends in 2017 and that Abel was a stand-in for a character on "Empire." Court documents said Olabinjo Osundairo, 27, also appeared as an extra in the show.
The two brothers were initially drawn into the investigation after police released grainy images of two "persons of interest" in the area the night of the attack. Chicago police detained the brothers in mid-February and within days, police said the brothers were considered suspects in the attack. But then, the two men were abruptly released and were not charged with a crime.
They testified before a grand jury, and soon after Smollett was charged with filing a false report of the attack. The brothers' attorney, Gloria Schmidt, said then that the brothers did not testify as part of any plea deal with prosecutors and that they were not granted any immunity from prosecution.
Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday: "The Osundairo brothers were fully prepared to testify in any criminal proceeding in the Jussie Smollett case."
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, she said the brothers regretted their involvement. "It started by them having a relationship with Mr. Smollett. Mr. Smollett being in a position of power over them -- him being this celebrity person who could pull strings for them and help them in their career," Schmidt said.
"They were thinking, I'm going to help my friend. He's asking for this," she said.
But Smollett's lawyer said the brothers had backed up the actor's version of events. "The Osundairo brothers said more than once that the $3,500 check they received was for exactly what Jussie said. They were his trainers," Holmes said.
On Tuesday, all criminal charges against Smollett were dropped. Cook County First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats said prosecutors dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 bond payment and did community service. Magats also said prosecutors needed to focus their time on violent crimes in Chicago.
Smollett has maintained his innocence. He said Tuesday he has been "truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," and "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."