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Key Witnesses in Jussie Smollett Case Say They're Out

Brothers are fed up with police hold on personal items
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2020 8:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – The two brothers who admitted to helping Jussie Smollet stage a fake hate crime are no longer cooperating with prosecutors. That's according to a letter from the brothers' lawyer, obtained by the Chicago Tribune, which reports the development stems from a police raid on the home of Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo in February 2019. In the letter addressed to a Chicago Police Department lawyer, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez says efforts to seek the return of items seized during the raid, including a legally owned firearm and ammunition, have been a "paperwork nightmare." "I hope this effort from your office and your clients was worth it because my clients are advising that whether they receive their items or not, they will no longer be cooperating with the prosecution of Mr. Smollett," she adds.

The brothers were in Nigeria when police raided their home on Feb. 14, 2019, per CBS News. It was only afterward that officers concluded Smollett had paid the brothers $3,500 to stage a racist and homophobic attack. Abel and Ola gave sworn testimony before a grand jury that same month, but the indictment was later dropped. Schmidt Rodriguez tells the Tribune that the brothers have not appeared before a grand jury related to Smollett's new charges, which could prove a complication. She adds they feel personally disrespected. Abel Osundiaro tells CBS Chicago that he could understand the treatment "if we were defendants in the case, which we are not." He adds officers took items belonging to family members and even "my dog's toy." Police argue items are being preserved as evidence. (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)

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