Jennifer Smith, Daily Mail, March 29, 2019
The lawyer for the Nigerian brothers caught up in the Jussie Smollett scandal said on Thursday that it was ‘atrocious’ and ‘offensive’ for his team to say they were wearing whiteface when they attacked him as she doubled down on their claims that the whole thing was a publicity stunt orchestrated by the Empire actor.
Gloria Schmidt appeared on CNN on Thursday night as the fallout surrounding the case gathered pace and prosecutors faced tough questions over their decision to let Smollett go scot-free.
She revealed that she was just as stunned by the decision as the rest of the world and had been in touch with the State’s Attorney’s office days beforehand to arrange the brothers’ appearances as witnesses at the trial.
Schmidt also slammed Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian for saying that the brothers could have been wearing whiteface when they attacked him.
It was a bizarre explanation for why Smollett told police in interviewers that one of the assailants had ‘pale or white skin’.
‘I think it’s just absolutely atrocious. It adds to why people are giving lawyers a bad name.
‘To distract from the real issue here and by putting out conspiracy theories, it just adds to the ridiculous and offensiveness of this entire thing,’ she said.
Schmidt revealed that she was in touch with prosecutors days before the shock decision and was arranging for her clients to testify against Smollett.
‘I originally was planning on going on spring break with my family.
‘We were literally, in my living room packing, I told the state’s attorney, I am going on spring break with my family, I’ll see you next week.
‘I had just been in touch with them a few days ago and then I see the news just like everyone else and was baffled. Baffled,’ she said.
Abel and Ola Osundairo were ‘fully prepared’ to testify that Smollett paid them to stage the attack as part of an effort to raise his professional profile, she said.
The brothers fled to Nigeria after the January 29 incident and were picked up by police upon their return.
Schmidt said it was only then that they realized they had been betrayed by Smollett.
‘This was completely a publicity stunt that my clients had trusted with their friends, once this got so big and saw that it was impacting so many people, they stood up and said, “we’re not going to be part of this fraud.”
After the charges against Smollett were dropped, Schmidt and the brothers parted ways.
Neither of them has been charged or arrested and prosecutors do not intend to bring charges against them.
They maintain that Smollett is guilty but say the deal — his charges being dropped in exchange for community service and a $10,000 bond forfeiture — is sufficient justice.
The city of Chicago disagrees and has given him a $130,000 bill for the time spent investigating the attack.
The mayor called Smollett’s case a ‘whitewash of justice’ and President Trump has slammed it as ‘outrageous’ and an ’embarrassment to our nation’.
Smollett, 36, maintains he is telling the truth. He flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday ahead of the NAACP awards on Saturday where he is nominated for the Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role award.