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Brothers In Alleged Smollet Hoax "Regret" Involvement: Lawyer

An attorney for the two brothers who said "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett paid them to fake a hate crime says they "regret" their involvement.

They understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves,” Gloria Schmidt said in a statement.

Chicago police said Ola and Abel Osundairo told them while they were being interrogated that Smollett paid them to fake the alleged attack. Smollett has now been charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, a felony in Illinois. He turned himself in on Feb. 21 but has insisted he is not guilty.

Smollett told police on Jan. 29 that he was attacked by men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, struck him in the face, “poured an unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, according to a police statement at the time. In a follow-up interview with police, Smollett alleged the attackers said “this is MAGA country.”

CBS Chicago obtained surveillance video of the brothers buying rope and red hats. Although police initially detained them, their cooperation led police to arrest Smollett.

Police said they obtained phone records showing that Smollett spoke with the men about an hour before and after the attack, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference after he was arrested. Smollett also spoke with the men while they were in Nigeria for the two weeks immediately following the attack, Johnson said.

Smollett is out of jail after posting bond. He is due back in court on March 14, CBS Chicago reports.

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