Jussie Smollett’s Alleged Accomplices Sue Actor’s Lawyers for Defamation

The brothers who allegedly helped Jussie Smollett stage a hate crime against himself are suing the former Empire actor’s lawyers for defamation, Reuters reports.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo claimed that Smollett’s attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, continued to falsely accuse them of attacking the actor even after the Chicago police had closed their investigation and concluded that Smollett had orchestrated the attack. Smollett claimed two white men beat him, doused him in bleach and wrapped a noose around his neck.

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In their lawsuit, the Osundairos echoed the police’s conclusion: “He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful black, openly gay actor,” the lawsuit read. “Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.” The Osundairo brothers are seeking unspecified damages.

Smollett and his lawyers have repeatedly denied that he staged the attack, even after the actor was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. Smollett eventually pleaded not guilty, but Chicago prosecutors ultimately dropped all criminal charges against the actor.

Responding to the Osundairos’ lawsuit, Geragos and Glandian said they were confident it would be dismissed. They called the suit “comical” and a “desperate attempt for them to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated.”

In an interview Tuesday, one of the Osundairos’ lawyers, Gloria Schmidt, acknowledged the brothers’ participation in the incident, but added: “They’ve realized that it was wrong. They’ve apologized for it. But make no mistake: They had no role in calling the police and they had no role in defrauding the police department.”

Despite having all charges dropped against him, Smollett is now facing a city of Chicago civil complaint that seeks to recoup the money spent in police overtime during the investigation. The city reportedly gave Smollett a week to repay the $130,106.15 bill stemming from the overtime hours. After he declined, the city filed the complaint and also asked for a jury trial to determine damages. Smollett could face more than $390,000 in damages as well as a $1,000 penalty for every false claim he told police.

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