Tina Glandian, actor Jussie Smollett’s attorney, alleged in a Thursday interview with NBC News that her client’s attackers may have been wearing whiteface.
Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo say “Empire” actor Smollett, 36, hired them to attack him in order to stage a fake hate crime.
“According to the court records, Smollett was very clear with police on the night of the attack that his attackers were white,” “Today” host Savannah Guthrie asked Glandian. “He said they had masks on and gloves, but he saw their eyes and he saw the skin surrounding their eyes. Was that a false statement?”
The attorney acknowledged that Smollett told police he saw “white or pale skin” on one of the attackers.
“Why did he say that? He could have said, ‘I don’t know,” Guthrie said. “But it’s the Osundairo brothers, what are the chances that that’s the case, that he saw somebody with light skin?”
“Well, you know, obviously you can disguise that. You can put makeup on,” Glandian said.
She said she had Googled the brothers and found an old video showing they wore whiteface in an earlier recorded performance.
“You know, 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,” Glandian said.
The two attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country” in the Jan. 29 attack, according to the actor.
Chicago police reportedly have photos of the Osundairo brothers and Smollett together in a car only days before the attack.
He was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct in early March. Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct on March 14.
On Tuesday, the state attorney’s office dropped all 16 charges against the actor.
Confusion about why the state dropped charges as well as what happened during the alleged attack persists.
Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris said Tuesday that she was “completely confused” after the charges were dropped.
“To be perfectly honest with you, Wolf, I’m completely confused. I don’t understand. I don’t know the underlying evidence,” she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview. “There’s a sealed document, obviously.
“I don’t know. I’m at a loss.”
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