While Jussie Smollett may soon be squaring off with the city of Chicago in yet another courtroom battle, his lawyers may also be facing legal troubles of their own.
Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, the two brothers who police claim Smollett hired to carry out an allegedly fake hate crime, are now suing the actor’s lawyers for defamation, the Los Angeles Times reports. The two men filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday seeking unspecified damages and naming attorneys Tina Glandian and Mark Geragos, as well as the latter’s Geragos & Geragos law firm, accusing all parties of telling damaging lies about them to the public, according to the outlet.
Smollett told police that he’d been attacked by two masked men early on Jan. 29 and described the attack as a hate crime. Police later accused Smollett of hiring the Osundairo brothers to orchestrate a fake attack for attention, leading Smollett to be indicted on charges related to filing a false police report. Those charges were dropped with little warning last month.
Smollett has continued to insist that the attack was genuine and now, the Osundairo brothers are coming after his legal team for supporting what they say are “untrue” claims. Smollett’s lawyers publicly accused them of having “led a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr. Smollett,” the brothers said, according to the Times. They allege that Smollett’s representation knew that the statements were “untrue,” but continued to support Smollett’s “farce” in order to build their own profiles.
The suit also accuses Geragos and Glandian of making a number of “patently false and defamatory” statements to numerous media outlets suggesting that the Osundairo brothers “criminally battered” Smollett, Entertainment Tonight reports. They pointed to Glandian’s past suggestion that the Osundairo brothers could have been wearing “whiteface” at the time of the alleged attack, claiming that Glandian “[added] the implication that this battery was a hate crime.” They also accused Glandian of suggesting that Bola Osundairo and Smollett had at least one homosexual encounter together, a claim that they say is false and endangered them both, as homosexuality is a criminal offense in their home country of Nigeria, ET reports.
The suit also alleges that Glandian and Geragos indirectly accused them of perjury by implying that Smollett’s story was true and theirs, which they took before a grand jury in February, was not, according to the outlet.
The Osundairos are reportedly claiming that their careers have taken a hit and they’ve experienced “irreparable financial damage” because of the accusations against them. They addressed the matter in a press conference on Tuesday, taking aim at what they say are lies and calling out Smollett’s legal representatives, ABC News reports.
“We have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated about us in the media only so one big lie can continue to have a life,” they reportedly said in their statement. “These lies are destroying our character and reputation in our personal and professional lives.”
“Those who know us personally know hate for anyone is not who we are,” their statement continued. “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 pair is requesting a trial by jury, according to the Times.
Prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges against Smollett last month in exchange for the 36-year-old actor completing community service and giving up his $10,000 bond, in a move that infuriated law enforcement officials and local political leaders enough that the city of Chicago has sued Smollett for the cost of the investigation.
The FBI is also reportedly still investigating whether or not Smollett had any hand in the threatening letter he received before the Jan. 29 attack.
Despite persistent backlash, Smollett has maintained his innocence at every turn, telling reporters last month that he wouldn’t be his mother’s son if he were “capable of one drop of what [he] was accused of.”
“I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he said.
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