The Latest: Brothers claim Smollett lawyers lying about them
CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on a lawsuit filed against Jussie Smollett’s attorneys (all times local):
Two brothers who allege that they helped Jussie Smollett stage an attack on himself say they are suing the “Empire” actor’s attorneys for spreading lies that are destroying the brothers’ character and reputations.
Attorneys for Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo held a news conference Tuesday after filing the defamation lawsuit against Smollett’s attorney, Mark Geragos, and his law firm. The brothers didn’t appear at the news conference but said in a statement that they “have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated” about them. Their attorneys say the pair can’t get jobs and are having trouble making ends meet.
One of their attorneys, Gloria Schmidt, says the Osundairos have already apologized for their role in the Smollett case.
The lawsuit alleges that Smollett’s attorneys say the Osundairo brothers carried out a real, bigoted attack on the actor, even though they know that isn’t true.
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.
Police allege that Smollett paid the brothers to help him stage a Jan. 29 attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with some sort of chemical substance and looped a rope around his neck.
Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains that the attack wasn’t staged.
Chicago’s top prosecutor drew heavy criticism after she recused herself from the case against Jussie Smollett and then complained in text messages to a subordinate that her office had overcharged the “Empire” actor.
But anyone who has followed Kim Foxx’s work recognized in the texts the same reforms she’s tried for years to implement. Those changes include not overcharging for nonviolent crimes and offering alternatives to taking a suspect to court.
Anger about the decision has also resulted in threats of physical harm to the prosecutor. Chief of staff Jennifer Ballard Croft told the Chicago Sun-Times the threatening messages came in the form of emails and calls, with some containing “racially-charged language.”
Critically, dropping the charges could undermine Foxx’s efforts to overhaul the nation’s second-largest district attorney’s office. For decades, it has been seen as too aggressive and reliant on abusive police practices.
Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.