Ola and Abel Osundairo, the two Nigerian brothers involved in "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime hoax in Chicago, filed a federal defamation lawsuit against Smollett’s legal team on Tuesday. The actor alleged that he was attacked by two men on the streets of Chicago in the middle of the night, who yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him and tied a rope around his neck. In an investigation, Chicago police concluded that the actor made the whole story up, and paid the brothers to pull off the "attack." Smollett denied the whole affair, but the Osundairo brothers insist that it's true.
In their suit against two of Smollett’s defense attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, the brothers claim that the actor paid them “a sum of money to stage the attack [against Smollett] to benefit himself” and “directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”
The actor's stunt, the brothers claim, was all about his career.
“Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple," the brothers write. "He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful black, openly gay actor. So, Mr. Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”
A few weeks ago, the Cook County state's attorney's office suddenly dropped all charges against Smollett, allowing him to walk out of court a free man. A Chicago police union demanded an investigation into Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's handling of the case.
In a news conference Tuesday morning, the Osundairos' lawyers insisted Smollett's legal team have made a long list of defamatory remarks about them.
"They know the extent of their false and vicious remarks," attorney James Tunick said.
Another lawyer read a statement provided by the Osundairos, in which they write that they have read "lie after lie about them."
"These lies are destroying our character and reputation," they say. "Those who know us personally know that we don’t have hate for anyone."
This is a breaking news post and has been updated.