The brothers who participated in the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett have filed a federal lawsuit against the Empire star’s lawyers.
The siblings — Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo — filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, accusing the actor’s lawyers, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, of defamation.
Abel and Ola, who claim Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack on the night of Jan. 29, say the actor’s attorneys have made “untrue” statements to “distract” from their client’s “farce.”
“Defendants made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm,” the lawsuit alleges, according to The Chicago Tribune. “Statements indicating Plaintiffs actually criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack.”
The brothers maintain that Smollett allegedly orchestrated the attack for personal gain, stating in the suit: “He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful black, openly gay actor.”
The lawsuit claims Smollett’s attorneys “doubled down” on their claims, “not simply affirming that Mr. Smollett was a wholly innocent victim, but that … (the brothers) unequivocally led a criminally homophobic, racist, and violent attack against Mr. Smollett.”
After Chicago police questioned and released the brothers, Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The actor’s arrest came just weeks after he told officers two masked men assaulted him, shouted “this is MAGA country,” and placed a noose around his neck.
Cook County prosecutors dismissed the charges on March 26 and the actor said he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one” about the attack.
After the charges were dropped, Glandian appeared on the Today show and alluded to the brothers’ involvement in the assault, going as far as to suggest they wore whiteface to conceal their identities from Smollett.
“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 him,” she said. “So, it’s not — it’s not implausible.”
Glandian implied that if the brothers wore whiteface, then it could explain why her client didn’t immediately recognize his attackers.
The lawyer also appeared on the Reasonable Doubt podcast, during which she implied that Ola and Smollett engaged in “homosexual sex acts together,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Ms. Glandian’s globally broadcasted statements that Osundairo is homosexual endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family,” the legal filing claims.
The brothers are suing for defamation and are seeking unspecified damages.