The Jussie Smollett saga continues.
According to Rolling Stone, the actor’s lawyer has filed a defamation lawsuit against brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo—key witnesses in Smollett’s hate crime hoax trial. Defense attorney Mark Geragos claims the Osundairo were guilty of “malicious prosecution,” as they falsely accused him of making untrue claims about their involvement in the alleged stunt.
The brothers point to Geragos’ podcast Reasonable Doubt, in which he and his associate Tina Glandian spoke about the Smollett case as well as the Osundairo’s connections to their client. The suit alleged Smollett’s attorneys attacked them in the media, and implied they were guilty of an actual hate crime. The brothers previously told the court they did not criminally conspire to attack Smollett, but rather helped him stage the attack in exchange for money.
Geragos says the Osundairo’s lawsuit contained “frivolous and fraudulent” claims, which cost him both time and money.
“They fabricated statements out of thin air and falsely attributed them to Mr. Geragos,” read the suit, obtained by Rolling Stone. “In actuality, and as the transcript of the podcast reveals, Mr. Geragos never said anything remotely similar to what the complaint alleged [...] Since the time the fraudulent lawsuit was filed, [Geragos and his firm] have wasted considerable time, effort, and resources to defend themselves, and to mitigate the damage to their reputation that flowed from defendants’ reckless and malicious actions.”
The Osundairos’ claims against Gergaos and Glandian were ultimately dismissed, except for one claim against the latter. On Thursday, a judge ruled that the brothers’ could move forward with their case against Glandian, who previously suggested the Osundairos, who are Black, were donning “whiteface” when they allegedly attacked Smollett. The Empire star previously told authorities that his alleged attackers appeared to be white.
Glandian made the comments in a 2019 interview on the Today show, shortly after the Cook County State’s Attorney confirmed it was dropping charges against Smollett.
“I was looking up the brothers and one of the first videos that showed up actually was one of the brothers in whiteface, doing a Joker monologue with white makeup on,” Glandian said during the interview. “And so it’s not implausible.”
Geragos’ lawsuit against the Osundairos comes about a week after Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging his own hate crime. The actor, who maintains his innocence, has since been released as he appeals his conviction.