Two brothers who said they helped Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack against himself are suing the “Empire” actor’s attorneys for defamation.
A lawyer for Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in Chicago on behalf of the brothers. It names Mark Geragos and his law firm as defendants.
The suit alleges that Geragos and his firm continued to say publicly in widely reported statements that the brothers “led a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr. Smollett,” even though they knew that wasn’t true.
Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains that the attack wasn’t staged.
In January, Smollett told authorities that two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him as he was walking home from a Subway restaurant. The actor, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made racist and homophobic comments and yelled, “This is MAGA country” before fleeing the scene. Surveillance video reportedly revealed the Osundairo brothers purchasing the rope allegedly used in the attack.
Smollett was later arrested for allegedly filing a false police report and faced 16 counts of disorderly conduct. The charges against the actor were dropped. Smollett has maintained his innocence and insists the attack was real.
The Chicago Police Department alleged in March that the Osundairo brothers became cooperating witnesses in the investigation into Smollett, alleging that the singer-actor paid the Osundairos by check for a “phony attack” in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.” Smollett has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations, saying he paid the brothers for physical training.