Jussie Smollet’s attorney has presented a new theory as to why the actor couldn’t identify his purported attackers and originally thought they were white: they wore “whiteface.”
Attorney Tina Glandian made the suggestion on the Today show on Thursday, after being asked why Smollett didn’t recognize the Ola and Abel Osundairo, even though the actor knows them. “He only saw one of the attackers. One of them he didn’t see. He saw one through a ski mask,” Glandian said. “He did tell police that he—from what we saw, he thought it was pale skin or white or pale skin, was I think what he said.”
She was also asked how the Osundairos could have been confused for being white. “Obviously, you can disguise that. You can put makeup on. ... You know, I was looking up the brothers, and one of the first videos that showed up actually was one of the brothers in whiteface doing a joker monologue with white makeup on him. ... it’s not implausible.”
TMZ has also revealed that the city of Chicago has ordered Smollett to pay $130K for the overtime that was needed to investigate his alleged attack. Smollett received a demand letter from a city official, but his team has dismissed the request, saying he is owed an apology from the Mayor and Police Superintendent. The outlet’s sources say that a civil case will be filed to acquire the money, and legally, the city can take three times that amount, or $390K.
If the case does go to court, a judge will rule whether or not the attack was fake before determining if Smollett has to pay. The judge only has to decide if it’s more likely than not that the events were fabricated, per TMZ.
If the judge concludes the attack wasn’t real, it’ll give Empire the go-ahead to fire Smollett, even though the State’s Attorney dropped the criminal case earlier this week. And on top of that, if Smollett loses the penalty case and declines to pay, then the city can execute on the judgment, and take possession of the actor’s wages and bank accounts, including his Empire salary.
Prior to the dismissal, the actor had been arrested and faced 16 felony counts for allegedly staging the attack in January. He was then charged for purportedly falsifying a police report where he claimed he was brutally attacked by two masked Trump supporters who targeted him for being a black, openly gay man.