Jussie Smollett lawyers claim recording evidence can prove his innocence

The video of a private conversation between a witness and his lawyer accidentally landed in the hands of Smollett's lawyers.

Actor Jussie Smollett speaks with members of the media after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Chicago police officers that were investigating the Jussie Smollett case accidentally recorded 37 seconds of a private conversation between Olabinjo Osundairo, a key witness, and his attorney, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, last year.

The video of the private conversation between Osundario and his lawyer accidentally landed in the hands of Smollett’s lawyers, reports the Chicago Tribune. This mistake happened during a routine exchange of potential evidence.

Smollett’s lawyers are now saying that the video can help prove the former “Empire” star’s innocence.

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In court on Friday, defense attorney, Tina Glandian said the tape is evidence of the Osundairo brothers cooking up a fake story. “It is a significant statement that we would like to introduce into evidence,” she said.

Glandian says that the tape shows that Osundairo and his brother, Abimbola Osundario, who were originally suspects in at the center of the high-profile case, being coached on a phony story to frame Smollett as a way to escape being charged themselves.

Judge James Linn indicated that the tape would not ever be made public. “This is clear cut attorney-client privilege,” Linn said. “Somebody forgot to turn off the tape at the police station. The lawyers are trying to use this now, and I’m not sure it will be available.”

In January 2019, Smollett said that he was the victim of a hate crime and reported it to the police in Chicago. Soon after, the Chicago Police Department said that Smollett orchestrated the attack and paid the Osundairo brothers to go along with it.

Charges were filed against Smollett by the state’s attorney office, but they later dropped them. 

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Smollett was indicted again on multiple counts of filing a false police report in February after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the case.

Schmidt-Rodriguez could not be reached for comment on Friday’s development and Judge Linn has not yet ruled on the defense team’s request.

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