The two men who were accused and then cleared of attacking 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett have filed a lawsuit against the actor's legal team, it was reported Tuesday.
The two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundario, say they're suing over alleged statements of defamation and false light by attorney Tina Glandian, who represented Smollett. They allege that Glandian repeatedly attacked the Osundario brothers by saying they dealt steroids and inferred Abimbola engaged in a sexual relationship with Smollett.
The lawsuit also names attorney Mark Geragos, who is in charge of the firm that employs Glandian.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago:
"Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence Plaintiffs, who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to 'make it' in Hollywood," the lawsuit states."He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor. So, Mr. Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose."
Attorney Gloria Schmidt told reporters the Osundarios brothers, who were once employed as extras on the Fox show, believed they were helping Smollett at the time.
"They were asked to do something by a friend that they trusted, and at the end of the day that friend betrayed that trust," Schmidt told reporters.
The brothers cooperated with authorities in their investigation and even testified before a grand jury. Smollett was charged with multiple felony counts that alleged the 'Empire' actor duped Chicago police into believing he had been the victim of the crime. Prosecutors would later drop the charges against Smollett, but the lawsuit filed by the Osundario brothers says Glandian continued to attack and defame them.
The lawsuit accuses Glandian and Geragos of not only doubling down on the false story, but that the "Plaintiffs unequivocally led a criminally homophobic, racist, and violent attack against Mr. Smollett. Defendants made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett's farce."
"Ms. Glandian insisted Mr. Smollett was innocent of making a false police report and falsely added that Plaintiffs criminally attacked Mr. Smollett. ... These statements were unnecessarily made on national media to advance Mr. Smollett's and Ms. Glandian's reputation and fame at high cost to Plaintiffs."
The lawsuit states that the two brothers have had difficulty in finding jobs after the incident with Smollett and their health-and-training business has faltered as a result of the allegations they committed a hate crime against Smollett, attorney Greg Kulis said.
The lawsuit filed by the brothers is seeking a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as other attorney costs.
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