The Nigerian brothers at the heart of the Jussie Smollett saga have been forced to eat at a “food pantry” because they can’t get work after the scandal but are ready to testify against the disgraced actor if the case makes it to trial, their lawyer told The Post Wednesday.
“It’s been really hard for them, they’ve tried to kind of jump back into the life they had [and] they couldn’t,” Chicago defense attorney Gloria Schmidt said.
“They were getting 4 to 5 auditions a month before, that’s completely dried up. Their talent agent dropped them… they’re eating at the food pantry. It’s not going well for them.”
Abel and Ola Osundairo shot to infamy early last year when they were arrested in connection with Smollett’s purported hate crime, but then released when they told police the “Empire” star paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
They were the primary witnesses in the Chicago Police Department’s disorderly conduct case against Smollett and used cell phone records and surveillance cameras to corroborate their story.
Schmidt said the brothers got the news that Smollett had been indicted on six counts of felony disorderly conduct late Tuesday at the same time the press did — but won’t feel vindicated until people know they’ve been telling the truth all along.
“This is the end of the beginning for them, they know there’s a long road ahead and there’s a lot of things that need to happen before a jury or judge finds they’re truthful,” Schmidt explained.
“They have no real skin in the game, they just know their role is to be honest and tell the truth about what happened.”
She described the brothers as “very even-keeled” and said “vindication will come at the end when there’s a total resolution.”
“Whatever shape that takes, whether it’s him fessing up, I think calling him a liar is not in their code, they wouldn’t want to make such a bold statement they just know he’s not being in accord with the facts,” the lawyer said.
“They know what happened, they know what he did, he’s making it up to be something that’s not accurate.”
The brothers, who met Smollett while performing as extras on the hit Fox show, were personal trainers and aspiring actors when their lives were shattered by the scandal, Schmidt said.
“People that had been making appointments for personal training ended up being reporters who were just trying to talk to them,” Schmidt explained. “There’s some days where [the food pantry] is all they have.”
Schmidt, who charges $450 an hour, said she’s not representing the brothers pro-bono but “it feels like it.”
“It’s more like deferred compensation,” she said.
“If you were to ask any of my clients I’m very laissez faire, it’s kind of like pay me when you can, I know some of these cases get out of control.”
Not to mention, the brothers are embroiled in “three heavy, heavy lawsuits,” including a defamation case they filed against Tina Glandian, Smollett’s lawyer, for calling them liars on a radio show and on “Good Morning America,” according to Schmidt and records.
Glandian has maintained Smollett is telling the truth about his attack and said Ola, the eldest of the pair, directed Abel to beat the actor up before a trip to Nigeria as a “test” to prove he wasn’t gay.
Abel had previously purchased drugs for Smollett and had slept over at his home, according to court records reviewed by The Post.
According to the suit against Smollett’s lawyer, Glandian falsely said the brothers were in the business of trafficking illegal steroids from Nigeria and the $3,500 Smollett paid the brothers were for the get fit quick pills, not staging a hate crime.
Smollett is due in court for his arraignment on Feb. 24.
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