Brothers involved in Jussie Smollett case sue actor's attorneys for defamation
The brothers involved in an alleged attack on actor Jussie Smollett are suing the "Empire" actor's attorneys for defamation. According to CBS Chicago, Ola and Abel Osundairo are accusing Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian of falsely accusing them of an actual hate crime.
Police claim Smollett, who is black and gay, paid the brothers to stage a hate crime in January. He was charged and pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the attack. But last month, Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges.
The brothers' attorneys acknowledged they took part in the hoax, but said they apologized and only did so because Smollett paid them. Their lawsuit accuses Geragos and Glandian of making false statements about them after the charges were dropped against Smollett.
For example, in an interview on the "Today" show, Glandian suggested the brothers may have been wearing "whiteface" during the attack, which might be why Smollett told police his attackers were white. The suit also claims Glandian publicly suggested Ola Osundario and Smollett engaged in a sexual relationship on the podcast "Reasonable Doubt."
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According to the lawsuit, Glandian's suggestion that Ola Osundairo is gay puts him and his family in Nigeria in danger, noting that homosexual activity is illegal in Nigeria and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison or death by stoning if the accused is married.
Although the brothers were born and raised in Chicago, their lawsuit states they are Nigerian-Americans and often visit family in Nigeria. The lawsuit also alleges Glandian falsely accused both brothers of being involved in illegal steroid trafficking.
"These statements were unnecessarily made publicly to numerous third parties to advance Ms. Glandian's reputation and fame and to undoubtedly ruin Plaintiffs' business," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
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