This story has more plot twists than an entire season of Empire.
The two brothers, who police claimed helped Jussie Smollett in an alleged attack, are seeking legal retribution against the Empire actor’s lawyers.
At a news conference Tuesday in Chicago, attorneys for Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo announced that they had filed a federal lawsuit against Smollett’s lawyers for repeatedly asserting that the brothers carried out a real, bigoted attack on Smollett despite knowing that wasn’t true.
The suit names celebrity attorney Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian as defendants.
Gloria Schmidt, one of the brothers’ attorneys contends that even after police claimed that the Jan. 29 attack was staged, and after all charges were dropped against Smollett, Geragos and his firm continued to make widely-reported statements disparaging their clients.
The suit cites that the public ordeal caused the two “significant emotional distress,” and made them feel unsafe and alienated them from the local community.
“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 life. These lies are destroying our character and reputation in our personal and professional lives,” the Osundairos’ lawyers said in a statement.
The lawsuit does not specify the exact amount of damages the brothers are seeking, but the Associated Press reports that it would it be more than $75,000 for “appropriate compensatory damages, punitive damages and costs,” stemming from the alleged defamation.
It also accuses Smollett of taking advantage of the brothers career goals as TV and movie actors. They both appeared on Empire and were retained to physically train and design a meal plan for Smollett.
The Chicago Police Department alleged that Smollett paid the brothers to help him stage an attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with a chemical substance and placed a rope around his neck.
The beloved actor, who is Black and identifies as gay, has maintained that the attack wasn’t staged.
Weeks after the alleged incident, the Osundairo brothers were arrested on suspicion of assaulting Smollett, but were released without charges.