In a federal defamation lawsuit filed Tuesday against Mark Geragos, Tina Glandian and their law firm, brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo say they have been set up by the attorneys.
“Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose,” the wide spread damages seeking suit claims, and says former CNN contributor Geragos and team defamed the duo repeatedly to the press. The actor who plays Jamal Lyon on the Fox series “used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence [the brothers] who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it,'” according to the jury trial demanding complaint (read it here).
“Mr. Smollett’s attorneys, faced with an outraged public, did not retreat after their success,” the 16-page suit asserted of the Geragos and Geragos firm and its moves after all charges were dropped against the actor late last month.
“Instead they doubled down, not simply affirming that Mr. Smollett was a wholly innocent victim, but that (among other accusations) Plaintiffs unequivocally led a criminally homophobic, racist, and violent attack against Mr. Smollett, the filing added. “Defendants made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm. This vitriol against Plaintiffs is tortious and comprises the substance of the …allegations.
The brothers say they have suffered extreme emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, damages to their reputation, and damages to current and prospective business relations as a result of the defamation.
“Attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian through their continued false statements and rhetoric have only deepened the damge that was caused by the very first out of 16 counts of lies that were told to the police that started this whole situation,” the Osundairos’ attorney Gloria Schmidt told reporters at a morning news conference on Tuesday in the Windy City
Jussie Smollett is not named in the suit. However, reps for the actor and his attorneys did not responded to request for comment from Deadline on the latest legal move.
Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct in February for allegedly filing a false police report, claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on January 29.
In a stunning turnaround, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dropped the 16-count indictment against Smollett at an unannounced court hearing on March 26. Spurned on by soon-to-be ex-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Midwestern metropolis then formally sued Smollett on April 4 to try get reimbursement for the more than $130,000 in police overtime spent investigating the alleged hoax even though the charges were dropped.
While no official word has come from Fox yet, all indications are that Empire will be coming back for a sixth season but Smollett won’t be on it.