Joel Riley

Joel Riley

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Bothers in Smollett case sue for defamation

Ola and Abel "Bola" Osundairo, the two brothers whom Chicago police say staged an attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett, are suing his attorneys for defamation, and are claiming that remarks they made endangered their lives and harmed their careers. The suit also alleges that Smollett directed the attack against himself. 

The lawsuit, which has been obtained by ET and other outlets, claims attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian made "public defamatory statements against Plaintiffs, which were published broadly in Illinois by major news outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and WGN Radio." 

The lawsuit continues, adding that "these tortious statements involve a hoax conducted in Illinois and orchestrated by Mr. Smollett. Finally, and importantly, these statements also impacted the reputation of Plaintiffs, who are employed and live in Illinois." 


Glandian’s statements, the suit alleges, caused “irreparable financial damage” and "considerable damage to Plaintiffs' careers, as they have lost talent agent contracts and career opportunities." 

Furthermore, the suit claims that Glandian’s statements claiming they "actually criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack." 

The suit continues, claiming that Glandian damaged Bola’s reputation by inferring on a podcast appearance that “Bola Osundairo and Mr. Smollett engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together. These statements were made to the third-party press and public."

This allegation is harmful for Bola, who is from Nigeria; the suit states that the statements about “homosexual [behavior] endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family" since same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, punishable by jail or even death by stoning.

Regarding Geragos, the lawsuit alleges that he "repeatedly indicated that Plaintiffs conspired to criminally attack Mr. Smollett, and by doing so, implied Plaintiffs committed perjury before the Feb. 20 grand jury and conspired to make false statements to Chicago Police." 


Furthermore, the suit alleges hat "Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence Plaintiffs, who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to 'make it' in Hollywood." 

"On January 25, 2019, Mr. Smollett told Plaintiffs, in private, that he needed a favor from them: they were to help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him," the lawsuit claims. "Mr. Smollett’s motivation was simple. 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."

They are seeking unspecified damages. 

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