The check at the center of the Jussie Smollett hate crime scandal may turn out to be an aid to his defense, though just days ago it was believed to be a strong piece of evidence indicating that Smollett had paid two brothers to attack him on January 29 in what authorities now suspected to be an orchestrated hate crime.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chicago police said on Thursday that they were in possession of a $3,500 check Smollett made out to brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who were arrested earlier this month and testified before a grand jury about their role in the alleged hate crime hoax. Authorities indicated the check represented payment for the allegedly orchestrated attack, but TMZ now reports that the memo on the check suggests otherwise.
TMZ has reportedly obtained documents showing that the memo on the $3,500 check, made out to Abel Osundairo, reads: “5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don’t Go.”
According to the report, “Don’t Go” is a reference to a music video Smollett was scheduled to film in February, and he wanted to lose weight before the video shoot.
The Osundairo brothers are both believed to be heavily involved in physical fitness and boxing, and one or both may work out in the gym in Smollett’s apartment building. TMZ also reportedly saw text messages between Smollett and Abel Osundairo discussing his diet and fitness regimen.
According to the news outlet, Smollett has paid Osundairo for “training” at least once before — but only for $100. He reportedly transferred that amount to Osundairo in September via Venmo.
Authorities have not commented on the memo written on the$3,500 check. The “Empire” actor was charged this week with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a police report. Through his lawyers, Smollett has thus far maintained his innocence. He was released from jail on a $100,000 bond on Friday.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski]