Note: You can watch the attorneys’ news conference live in the video player above, and read the brothers’ complaint at the bottom of the page.
Olabinjio Osundairo and Abimola Osundairo filed a federal lawsuit against Jussie Smollett’s legal team on Tuesday, alleging that the “Empire” actor’s attorneys defamed the brothers throughout the saga of the attack Smollett claimed to have suffered in Chicago in January.
The Osundairo brothers filed the suit against Mark Geragos, Tina Glandian and the Geragos & Geragos law firm, according to the 16-page complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois.
The brothers’ attorneys Gloria Schmidt, Gregory Kulis and James Tunick planned to address the lawsuit at a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. at Chicago’s Union League Club. A spokeswoman for the lawyers told TODAY that the brothers would not be attending the news conference or speaking to media.
The brothers were taken into custody for questioning in connection with Smollett’s claim that he was the victim of an attack in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29. Smollett claimed to have been beaten by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him, court documents showed.
Initially investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, Chicago police said new information “shifted” their approach to the case, leading them to allege that Smollett orchestrated the assault by hiring the Osundairo brothers who worked on “Empire” to execute it.
Smollett was initially charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report in February, with Chicago police alleging that he staged the attack the month before because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” A Cook County grand jury then indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts, to which he pleaded not guilty before all charges against him were dropped last month.
The news that charges would be dismissed came during an “emergency court appearance” on March 28 where prosecutors not only dropped the charges against Smollett but agreed to expunge the actor’s record, in exchange for Smollett’s forfeiture of his $10,000 bond and his performance of community service.
Smollett maintained his innocence, saying after the charges were dropped that he had been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of,” he said.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life,” Smollett told reporters. “But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”