Chicago - Two Nigerian-American brothers wrapped up in Jussie Smollett's Chicago hate-crime hoax sued the "Empire" actor's lawyers on Tuesday, accusing them of defamation for insisting they had "criminally attacked" the actor even after police concluded otherwise.
Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were briefly taken into custody as Chicago police investigated the alleged January incident in which Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was assaulted by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs and wrapped a noose around his neck.
Police later concluded that Smollett staged the attack for publicity. Prosecutors brought and then abruptly dropped hoax charges against the actor on March 26, a stunning move that drew the fury of the city's police superintendent and mayor.
In a lawsuit filed in Chicago federal court, the Osundairo brothers charged that Smollett's attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian falsely accused them of attacking Smollett, even after the investigation was over.
It rejected the idea that the brothers, who are also black, attacked Smollett because of his race, asserting that the actor staged the incident. It also noted that the pair served as the actor's trainers and sometime extras on his Fox hip-hop TV drama.