Rev. Al Sharpton says actor Jussie Smollett should face “accountability to the maximum” if found guilty to be a co-conspirator of a fake hate crime attack, The NY Daily News reports.
A new report surfaced in the past few days that named two Nigerian brothers Olabingo and Abimbola Osundairo as the men featured in a surveillance video near where Smollett was attacked. The brothers have reportedly been cooperating with police in regards to the Jan. 29 attack on the Empire actor.
During his Sunday night PoliticsNation show, Sharpton said:
“I, among many others when hearing of the (original) report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum,” Sharpton said
“I still maintain that. And if it is found that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetrate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum,” he said.
“But let’s not act like this is some left-wing hoax that some are saying on social media. President Trump called this ‘horrible,’ and he’s certainly not a left-winger,” Sharpton said.
“None of us talked directly with (Smollett). We were alarmed at what was reported,” he said.
“Let us get to the bottom of it and let justice be done. No matter who is right or wrong, we cannot not get to the truth here,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton, a civil rights activist, was one of the first to come to Smollett’s defense when reports of the attack surfaced.
On Monday the brothers released a statement:
“We are not racist. We are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump,” they said. “We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
Sources reportedly told CBS 2 Chicago and ABC News that Smollett enlisted the Osundairo because he was upset that a threatening letter that was sent to him on the set of Empire in Chicago didn’t conjure up the reaction he wanted.
Other the weekend, Smollet’s lawyers Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson released a statement denying that the actor took an active role in the attack.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the statement said. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Empire executive producer on “Empire,” Brett Mahoney, tweeted his continued support of the TV star late Sunday.
“I believe and stand by JussieSmollett . Keep your head up,” he wrote in the post.
— Brett Mahoney (@TheBrettMahoney) February 18, 2019