Smollett's Alleged Attack: Lawyer For Brothers Releases New Statement

Police and prosecutors have accused Smollett of paying two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to stage a racist, anti-gay attack on him

The attorney for the brothers involved in the alleged staged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett released a statement Thursday evening.

Smollett reportedly wrote on a check to one of the brothers he is accused of paying to stage an attack on him that he was paying for a nutrition and workout program.

"My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves," Gloria Schmidt said in the statement released Thursday

Images of the check, first published by TMZ, show a $3,500 payment to Abimbola Osundairo, the same amount police allege the actor paid Osundairo and his brother to stage a racist, anti-gay attack on him

A memo line on the check read "5 week nutrition/workout program (Don't go)." The check was dated Jan. 23, six days before Smollett claimed he was attacked in Chicago. 

TMZ also published text messages between Smollett and one of the brothers in January discussing grocery lists, meal plans and music video shoots. The publication reported Smollett was looking to lose weight before shooting the music video for his song "Don't Go," which would feature him shirtless. 

Sources familiar with the material told NBC News the images are authentic, but it remains unclear if they are related to the case against Smollett. NBC News has not reviewed the check or texts.  

Police say Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed two masked men attacked him last month in downtown Chicago, hurling slurs and looping a rope around his neck. Investigators say he planned the hoax, soliciting the help of a friend and the friend's brother, because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.

Smollett denies the allegations and has maintained his innocence. 

"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," Smollett's legal team said in a statement last week. "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence."

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC Sunday the department stands behind its investigation. 

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told "Good Morning America" Monday "there's a lot more evidence that hasn't been presented yet and does not support the version [Smollett] gave." 

"It's important for people to recognize that it's not the Chicago Police Department saying he did something, it's the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this," Johnson said in the interview. 

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