Jussie Smollett's Lawyers Hit With Defamation Lawsuit by Osundairo Brothers
Abel "Bola" and Ola Osundairo, the brothers whom Chicago police claim carried out the alleged staged attack on Jussie Smollett, are suing the Empire star's attorneys for defamation.
In the lawsuit, which was obtained by ET, Mark Geragos, his law firm, and Tina Glandian are being sued by the brothers, who claim the high-profile attorneys made "public defamatory statements against Plaintiffs, which were published broadly in Illinois by major news outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and WGN Radio."
The lawsuit goes on to add that "these tortious statements involve a hoax conducted in Illinois and orchestrated by Mr. Smollett. Finally, and importantly, these statements also impacted the reputation of Plaintiffs, who are employed and live in Illinois."
According to the lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday, Glandian’s statements have caused "considerable damage to Plaintiffs' careers, as they have lost talent agent contracts and career opportunities." The lawsuit also alleges that Glandian’s statements have caused the brothers "irreparable financial damage."
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Glandian’s statements indicating the brothers "actually criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack."
The lawsuit states that Glandian, during appearances on Good Morning America and Today, "falsely submitted that Plaintiffs may have been wearing 'whiteface' while attacking Mr. Smollett -- again stating Plaintiffs battered Mr. Smollett and adding the implication that this battery was a hate crime."
Additionally, the lawsuit says that, during a podcast appearance earlier this month, Glandian "inferred that Bola Osundairo and Mr. Smollett engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together. These statements were made to the third-party press and public."
"Bola Osundairo is heterosexual and was dating a woman at the time. Bola Osundairo has never engaged in any sexual acts with Mr. Smollett, thus Ms. Glandian’s statements are patently false," the lawsuit continues before stating that Glandian's "globally broadcasted statements that Bola Osundairo is homosexual endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family" since same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria where Osundairo is from.
As for Geragos, the lawsuit alleges that he "repeatedly indicated that Plaintiffs conspired to criminally attack Mr. Smollett, and by doing so, implied Plaintiffs committed perjury before the Feb. 20 grand jury and conspired to make false statements to Chicago Police."
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that "Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence Plaintiffs, who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to 'make it' in Hollywood."
"On January 25, 2019, Mr. Smollett told Plaintiffs, in private, that he needed a favor from them: they were to help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him," the lawsuit claims. "Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple. He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor. So, Mr. Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose."
In a joint statement the brothers said that they "have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated about us in the media only so one big lie can continue to have life."
"These lies are destroying our character and reputation in our personal and professional lives," the statement continued. "Those who know us personally know hate for anyone is not who we are. We try to spread as much love and positivity with whoever we come in contact with. We will no longer sit back and allow these lies to continue."
The brothers are seeking unspecified damages.
Geragos and Glandian released a statement of their own, saying that "at first we thought this comical legal document was a parody."
"Instead this so-called lawsuit by the brothers is more of their lawyer driven nonsense, and a desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated," the statement continued. "While we know this ridiculous lawsuit will soon be dismissed because it lacks any legal footing, we look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public."
Smollett was arrested on Feb. 21 after being charged with felony disorderly conduct. On March 14, he pleaded not guilty to the 16 felony counts he was indicted on.
The counts focused on him allegedly making false statements to two different Chicago police officers. When reporting the alleged January attack, Smollett claimed that he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck.
Late last month, Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against Smollett after he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail and perform 16 hours of community service. After the charges were dropped, Bill McCaffrey, a spokesperson for the city of Chicago’s Department of Law, told ET that the city was seeking $130,106.15 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation. Smollett, through Geragos, issued a letter refusing to pay the sum.
Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and denied all allegations that he staged the incident.
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