Abel and Ola Osundairo, the brothers who were initially suspected of committing a hate crime against Jussie Smollett earlier this year, have filed a lawsuit against two of the “Empire” star’s lawyers, accusing them of defamation.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Tuesday morning, accuses Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian of the Geragos & Geragos law firm of knowingly making false statements about the Osundairo brothers’ involvement in the incident “to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves.”
In a statement, Geragos & Geragos called the lawsuit “comical” and characterized it as an attempt by the brothers “to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated.”
The Osundairo brothers were taken into custody by Chicago police shortly after the Jan. 29 incident, in which Smollett said he was randomly attacked by two men shouting racial and homophobic slurs in his Chicago neighborhood. However, they were both released after two days and have not been charged with any crimes.
Instead, Smollett was indicted by a grand jury last month on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police about the incident. The charges were later dropped.
The Osundairo brothers have since maintained their innocence and said they “fully cooperated” with Chicago authorities and their investigation.
“Mr. Geragos repeatedly indicated that Plaintiffs conspired to criminally attack Mr. Smollett, and by doing so, implied Plaintiffs committed perjury before the February 20, 2019 grand jury and conspired to make false statements to Chicago Police,” the brothers’ lawsuit reads.
It goes on to say that the statements “were made after the close of Mr. Smollett’s criminal case, did not serve any legal function, and were not a requirement of his job as a defense attorney.”
The complaint also cites an appearance by Glandian on “Good Morning America” during which she suggested that the brothers may have worn “whiteface” while committing the attack on Smollett.
“Ms. Glandian’s 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 document says. “[T]hese statements were unnecessarily made on national media to advance
Mr. Smollett’s and Ms. Glandian’s reputation and fame at high cost to Plaintiffs.”
“At first we thought this comical legal document was a parody,” the Geragos & Geragos statement said. “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. 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.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.