News and Commentary

Nigerian Brothers’ Attorney Rips Smollett’s Attorney For ‘Whiteface’ Suggestion: She’s ‘Giving Lawyers A Bad Name’

On Thursday, the attorney for the Nigerian brothers who were allegedly involved in the attack on Jussie Smollett slammed Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, for suggesting that the reason Smollett initially claimed his attackers were white was because one of the brothers may have been wearing whiteface on the night of the attack. Gloria Schmidt, appearing on CNN with host Don Lemon, asserted, “I heard that, and I think that’s absolutely just atrocious. It adds to, I think, why people are giving lawyers a bad name.”

Glandian had been interviewed by NBC Today’s show host Savannah Guthrie, who asked why Smollett had claimed his attackers were white. Guthrie queried, “Why did he say that? He could have said ‘I don’t know.’ The Osundairo brothers, what are the chances that that’s the case, that he saw somebody with light skin?”

Glandian answered, “Well, you know, I mean, I think there’s, obviously you can disguise that, you can put makeup on; there is, actually, interestingly enough, a video, you know, I think police did minimal investigation in this case. It took me all of about five minutes to Google, 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, and so it is not implausible.”

On Thursday, the exchange between Lemon and Schmidt went like this:

Lemon: The brothers stand behind their story —

Schmidt: Sure.

Lemon: — right? They stand behind their story that —

Schmidt: Yes.

Lemon: — that they were paid to do this; there’s a $3,500 check to stage this event; you told Anderson Cooper that the check was for training services, and you told George Stephanopoulos —

Schmidt: It was for both.

Lemon: Okay, it was for both.

Schmidt: It was for both. Yes. They stand behind that. They stand behind the fact that Jussie had also promised them five hundred dollars when they came back from Nigeria for their role in this attack.

Lemon: So they never recanted their story?

Schmidt: They never recanted their story.

Lemon: Do they face the possibility of charges? Are they going to be charged in this case? Because if he didn’t do it —

Schmidt: No, because they didn’t —

Lemon: Then … ( he pauses)

Schmidt: I mean, what charges could they face? Because they were not, they did not commit a hate crime; they did not stalk Jussie out and attack him for his sexual orientation or for his race. This was completely a publicity stunt that my clients had trusted with their friend, and once this got so big and they saw that this was affecting so any people, they stood up and said we’re not going to be part of this fraud. And that’s what happened and they were committed to doing that.

Lemon: One more thing before I let you go: one of the attorneys said that the brothers could have been wearing whiteface that night?

Schmidt: I — I heard that, and I think that’s absolutely just atrocious. It adds to, I think, why people are giving lawyers a bad name. It’s to distract from the real issues here and by putting out conspiracy theories that, perhaps, my clients were wearing whiteface, it just adds to the ridiculous and the offensiveness of this entire thing.