One of Jussie Smollett’s attorneys appeared on the “Today” show Thursday, not long after President Trump tweeted the FBI and Justice Department will review the “Empire” star’s case. When the NBC morning show’s Savannah Guthrie asked Tina Glandian if she was concerned about this turn of events, the Smollett attorney said, “not at all.”
“We have nothing to be concerned about, because there was nothing on our end to request this” Glandian said, adding, “nothing improper was done.”
Earlier on Thursday, Chicago’s ABC7 reported that two law enforcement officials had confirmed the FBI is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the local prosecutor’s sudden decision this week to drop all 16 criminal counts against the actor, who had been accused of staging an attack against himself on a Chicago street in January.
Glandian’s sitdown with Guthrie came just after the president tweeted on Thursday morning: “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!”
The FBI had no comment.
As for what led to all charges against Smollett being dropped by Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday, Glandian said: “There were no conditions, and there was obviously no plea. There was no agreement in place. They did want him to forfeit the bond, and that’s something we discussed with him, and he initially struggled with, because he didn’t want the perception to be that he had done anything wrong. But at the end of the day, forfeiting $10,000 versus putting your life on hold for a year was a small cost to pay.”
Glandian says Smollett was asked to forfeit the bond and he did so voluntarily — an action that was not part of any deal — adding that the community service Smollett performed was also not a condition of the charges being dropped, but “something we initially raised ourselves at the initial bond hearing, saying this is somebody who has volunteered hundreds of hours, thousands of hours, since he was a teenager to all sorts of organizations.”
“It is something he’s always done, so in our discussions with the prosecution we told them about his volunteer service,” she said.
Guthrie also asked the Smollett attorney to give her opinion on what would have motivated brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo to attack Smollett, with the attorney giving a breakdown of the timeline of events for the Jan. 29 incident, starting at the 4:28 mark in the above video.
“He [Smollett] had a hard time believing his friend would be behind this…We would be speculating at this time, and I don’t want to go on record right now and give my own theory of the case but I do have a theory but, it is speculation,” Glandian said.
The attorney said on the night of the reported attack, Smollett was in “constant communication” with Abel, as he had previously scheduled a training session with him. That session was rescheduled for the next morning once Smollett realized he would be returning to Chicago from New York four hours later than he intended.
“They knew he was gonna be in his neighborhood at 2 a.m.,” she said. “So what happened is, he spoke to Abel, they were supposed to train, he was delayed for four hours. And initially he thought, he told them, ‘We’ll still train when I get in, it’s gonna be a little late.’ When it turned out to be a four-hour delay and he was getting in after midnight he obviously told them, ‘We’re not gonna train any longer.’ And they were supposed to still train in the morning and they were scheduling that and Abel said, ‘Make sure you eat’ and he had given him a nutrition plan and he had to eat four eggs or something… He said, ‘I don’t I have any, but I’ll run out and get some.’ And he was being picked up by somebody so he made it clear he was on his way.”
She continued: “And on that note, too, their story says that they thought or he allegedly planned the attack for 2 a.m. sharp and according to the police they arrived at 1:22 [a.m.]. And it’s freezing cold and if you look at the timing it’s a 15-minute car ride. … Why would you get there 40 minutes early to wait in that cold weather, which Jussie got so much grief for that he went out for a sandwich in the cold, but the brothers apparently waited in the cold for 40 minutes?”
Glandian also addressed Guthrie’s questions about why, according to court records, Smollett told police his attackers were white, if he believes the brothers were the ones who attacked him.
“He did tell police that, from what he saw, he thought it was pale skin — or white or pale skin, was what I think he said,” Glandian said, noting Smollett said he only saw one of the attackers and only through a ski mask.
“Obviously you can disguise that, you can put makeup on,” Glandian said, adding that when she did an online search for the Osundario brothers “one of the first videos that showed up actually was one of the brothers in whiteface doing a ‘Joker’ monologue with white makeup on. So it’s not implausible.”
When asked if Smollett would try to bring charges against the brothers, Glandian had this to say: “I think in light of what he has been through the last two months…he’s told me numerous times, I don’t even care about what happened. I just want to move on….what he has been through after the fact has really been a much harsher attack than what he endured that night.”
On Wednesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop all charges against Smollett, noting that it was common to drop Class 4 felonies in exchange for two days of community service and forfeiting his $10,000 cash bond payment to the city.
“I believe this is a just outcome based on the circumstances,” Foxx said.
Earlier this week, first assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats noted that he did not believe the actor was “innocent.”
The disposal of the case, with Smollett not having to admit guilt, has sparked outcry, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel condemning the decision as a “whitewash of justice.”
On Wednesday, Chicago police released a 61-page investigative file from their Smollett investigation.
Obtained by the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets before the case was sealed by a judge, the records show how police built their case against Smollett using evidence they gathered and statements from two brothers who said the actor paid them to stage the Jan. 29 attack. Names and other identifying information were redacted from the documents before they were made public.
Watch the video above.