In the case with more twists than a YouTube tutorial, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, the two personal trainers implicated in the case of Empire star Jussie Smollett, have filed suit against Smollett’s representation for defamation, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to their suit, the Osundairo brothers, who told investigators that Smollett paid them to attack him, say that Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos and co-counsel Tina Glandian “doubled down” on their insistence that the brothers paid $3,500 for personal training by Smollett and attacked their client even after charges were dropped by Cook County prosecutors.
Smollett, who “directed every aspect” of the attack, “wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful black, openly gay actor,” the suit alleged.
The brothers say the comments made them “feel unsafe and alienated in their local Chicago community.” Geragos and Glandian, while portraying Smollett as a “wholly innocent victim,” continued to allege that he fell victim to a “criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack” led by the brothers, according to their suit.
Glandian, according to the suit which has been published by the Tribune, inferred that Smollett and Abimbola, who was dating a woman at the time, “engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts together” during an appearance on a podcast hosted by Adam Carolla. The suit further alleges that Glandian insinuated that the relationship had become romantic in nature, a theory bolstered by a night spent at Smollett’s apartment.
“Ms. Glandian’s globally broadcasted statements that Bola Osundairo is homosexual endangers him and the lives of his Nigerian family,” said the lawsuit. Glandian also alleged the brothers had helped her client secure an illegal “steroid-like supplement” in an April interview with the Tribune.
“It’s one thing he’s playing this character, now he’s hanging out with this openly gay man and he’s spent the night there,” Glandian said during her interview for the podcast episode released April 6. “So I think [Olabinjo] starts thinking to himself, you know, what’s really going on here?”
At a news conference Tuesday, attorney Gloria Schmidt told gathered media that the brothers, who did not attend, “told the truth.”
“They could have remained silent. But instead they told the truth to the police, and with their right hand in the air, they told the truth to the grand jury. We’re going to make sure that the lies and malice attacking our city, our Police Department and my two clients are met with truth and healing.”
From a statement prepared by the Osundairo brothers:
“These lies are destroying our character and our reputation in our personal and professional lives,” the statement said. “Those who know us personally know that we don’t have hate for anyone. … That is not who we are.”
According to the suit, the brothers have had a tough time finding work as a result of the case and the statements, which are the subject of the suit, though the suit does acknowledge that many of the statements pertinent to the case served no legal purpose.
Defamation lawsuits are typically difficult to win for plaintiffs, as it must be proved that statements were both false and harmful to the reputations of all parties bringing suit.