mcloudyn.png
Wednesday November 25th, 2020 12:01AM

2 brothers threaten to stop cooperating in Smollett case

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers who have said they helped actor Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago last year no longer intend to cooperate with authorities, according to their attorney.

But one legal expert said even if Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo stop cooperating it won't hurt the case because prosecutors can present at trial the brothers' previous testimony before a grand jury.

“What they said is already under oath on paper," said David Erickson, a former state appellate judge who teaches at Chicago Kent College of Law.

At the heart of the brothers' change of heart is a growing frustration with the refusal by authorities to return their belongings — including a gun — that was seized early last year during the police investigation that led to the “Empire" actor's arrest.

“(The brothers) were, like ’Gloria, we’ve had it, we’ve been so patient,” their attorney, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez told the Chicago Tribune after writing a letter to the police department's attorney. “Everything we’ve provided the office is without subpoena … Instagram messages, social media posts, phone records, whatever it is we’ve needed, and wanted, they’ve produced. That ends now. We’ve obviously been too accessible for them.”

Schmidt even informed the police department's attorney that whether or not they get their belongings back, they are through cooperating, according to a letter obtained by the newspaper.

Erickson said that if they do refuse to testify they can be held in contempt of court and prosecutors can also charge them with taking part in what authorities say was a staged attack.

Do they want that? ” he said.

The threat to not cooperate is the latest twist in a story that has been full of them since January 2019, when Smollett told police that two masked men had approached him in downtown Chicago, made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

The story included Smollett's contention that his attackers told him he was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” There was national attention on the case, both when the incident occurred and later when police alleged Smollett staged the attack with the help of the brothers to drum up publicity for his career.

Smollett, who allegedly paid the brothers $3,500 to help him stage the attack, was charged with lying to police before the Cook County State's Attorney's Office announced it was dropping the charges. A judge subsequently ordered a special prosecutor to investigate, and the special prosecutor later secured another indictment against Smollett. Smollett has maintained his innocence.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Entertainment
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Texas putting reopening on 'pause' as virus cases soar
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is halting elective surgeries in its biggest counties and says the state would “pause” its aggressive re-opening as it deals with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations
12:13PM ( 15 minutes ago )
2 brothers threaten to stop cooperating in Smollett case
Two brothers who have admitted to helping actor Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago last year are threatening to stop cooperating with prosecutors
12:12PM ( 17 minutes ago )
‘Antebellum’ brings racial justice call to reopened theaters
Filmmakers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz planned to release their feature-length debut film, “Antebellum,” in the spring, just as the coronavirus pandemic exploded internationally
11:58AM ( 31 minutes ago )
U.S. News
The Latest: Texas Gov. Abbott again halts elective surgeries
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott again halted elective surgeries in the state's biggest counties in a bid to free up hospital beds after the number of patients admitted with COVID-19 has more than doubled in two weeks
12:16PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Police checks, mass testing after German meat plant outbreak
German police have deployed hundreds of officers across two western regions that have been placed under renewed one-week lockdown in an attempt to contain a coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse
12:15PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Dixie Chicks drop 'dixie' from name, now known as The Chicks
Grammy-winning country group The Dixie Chicks have dropped the word dixie from their name, now going by The Chicks
12:06PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Russia opens polls for vote on extending Putin's rule
Polls have opened in Russia for a week-long vote on constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036
11:31AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Justices rule for Trump administration in deportation case
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Trump administration can deport some people seeking asylum without allowing them to make their case to a federal judge
11:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Jobless claims and depressed economy show damage from virus
The number of laid-off workers who applied for unemployment benefits fell to 1.48 million last week, the 12th straight drop and a sign that layoffs are slowing but are still at a painfully high level
9:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Elizabeth Banks to drive 'Magic School Bus' onto big screens
“The Magic School Bus” has traveled everywhere from Pluto to inside the human body
11:10AM ( 1 hour ago )
Tabloid's lawyers seek to get Johnny Depp lawsuit thrown out
Lawyers for British tabloid The Sun have urged a judge to throw out Johnny Depp’s libel claim against the paper
10:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
Bialik and Batman: Actor teams up with DC for science books
“The Big Bang Theory” actor Mayim Bialik is teaming with DC Entertainment on a project that joins superhero power to the power of science
9:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Texas putting reopening on 'pause' as virus cases soar
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is halting elective surgeries in its biggest counties and says the state would “pause” its aggressive re-opening as it deals with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations
12:13PM ( 15 minutes ago )
‘Antebellum’ brings racial justice call to reopened theaters
Filmmakers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz planned to release their feature-length debut film, “Antebellum,” in the spring, just as the coronavirus pandemic exploded internationally
11:58AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Protests spark move to rename iconic Kansas City fountain
Protests in Kansas City over the death of George Floyd may lead the city to rename one of its most iconic sites, the J
11:42AM ( 47 minutes ago )
'Faces of the conquerors': Trump trip to Rushmore draws fire
President Donald Trump’s plans to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore are drawing sharp criticism from Native Americans who view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them
11:29AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Tattoo artist sees bump in desire to erase hateful skin art
A Vermont tattoo artist is offering a free service to people who want to remove or cover hateful skin art
10:13AM ( 2 hours ago )