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Nigerian Brothers Involved in Jussie Smollett Hoax File Defamation Lawsuit

— March 20, 2022

Smollett former defense attorneys have also fired back, filing their own lawsuit against the Osundairo brothers.

The two Nigerian brothers who played a critical role in staging a fake attack on Jessie Smollett can proceed with their defamation lawsuit against the ‘Empire’ actor’s attorney.

According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Olabinjo and Amibola Osundairo have repeatedly maintained that the actor’s defense cast them in an intentionally poor light, in some cases using slurs and innuendos to degrade their credibility.

However, Smollett’s lawyers say that the Osundairo brothers’ lawsuit has little to do with their reputation.

On Friday, for instance, a federal judge ruled that the Osundairos’ defamation case against Smollett attorney Tina Glandian can proceed as planned.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland opined that some of Glandian’s comments—especially those relating to a 2019 video wherein one of the brothers donned “whiteface [while] doing a joker monologue—were racially charged and potentially defamatory.

Glandian had, for instance, tried to dispel discrepancies in Smollett’s story by hypothesizing that the Osundairo brothers might have “put makeup on” to make their skin appear lighter—causing Smollet to think one or both of the Nigerian actors was Caucasian.

“Taken in context,” Rowland wrote, “Glandian was asserting plaintiffs’ involvement in a racially motivated attack.”
“Explain that the attackers were white, read in context, adds the implication that the attack was racially motivated,” she said.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

But Glandian and her partner, Mark Geragos, say that the Osundairo brothers’ claims lack merit. Instead of filing a good-faith action, Smollett’s attorneys say that the Osundairos are trying to make money off their association with an infamous case.

In response to the Osundairos’ ongoing defamation claim, Glandian and Geragos opted to file a counter-lawsuit.

Glandian and Geragos noted in a Thursday filing that the brothers have already tried to capitalize on their infamy by selling an N.F.T. image of the “crime scene” after Smollett was found guilty of staging a hate crime.

The Osundairos also released a related rap song on the day Smollett was sentenced.

“We have spelled out in minute detail the grift that went on,” Geragos said on Friday. “I look forward to holding everyone involved accountable.”

While Glandian remains a defendant in the defamation case, Geragos’s firm is no longer named as a defendant.

However, Geragos says that the litigation imposed additional expenses and did reputational damage, which he now hopes to recover in court.

According to the Osundairos, though, Smollett’s defense team tried to protect Smollett by positing the brothers as violent homophobes.

When Smollett was on trial, his attorneys said that the Osundairos’ assault on Smollett—which the ‘Empire’ actor had paid them to stage and commit—was, in fact, a real assault that could be likened to a hate crime.

Smollett had initially told law enforcement that he had been physically assaulted by a group of White men wearing ‘MAGA’ hats.

Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, an attorney for the Osundairo brothers, said that Glandian and Geragos’s lawsuit is baseless.

“This complaint is absurd—in substance and merit—and nothing more than a second bite at the apple wanting a remedy that the Federal Court has already denied,” Rodriguez wrote in an email to The Chicago Sun-Times. “We look forward to a swift resolution in our favor.”


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