By: Seema Iyer | Court TV
The latest court decision in actor Jussie Smollett’s case has little do with Smollett and everything to do with his attorneys, sending a strong message to all lawyers –that impugning a witness’ credibility could land you in hot water.
Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian represented Smollett on criminal charges stemming from a January 29, 2019 incident where the former Empire star allegedly falsely reported to Chicago Police that two men wearing ski masks violently attacked him. The men, brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo told police that Smollett orchestrated the attack as a hoax.
Smollet was indicted on 16 felony counts of a false reporting after the brothers testified before a grand jury, but a few weeks later, the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office dropped the charges against the actor.
Smollet’s attorney Tina Glandian went on a media blitz in the following days, appearing on morning TV to discuss the case. She proclaimed Smollet’s innocence, maintaining the Osundairos criminally assaulted her client, and may have been wearing “whiteface” during the attack.
Glandian also discussed the case on Geragos’ podcast, Reasonable Doubt. She suggested that the Osundairos were involved in illegal Nigerian steroid trafficking and speculated Abimbola Osundairo engaged in sexual activity with Smollet. Geragos participated in the discussion by accusing the Osundairo brothers of conspiring to criminally attack Smollet.
Their statements prompted the Osundairo brothers to sue both lawyers and their law firm, Geragos & Geragos, claiming the lawyers defamed them on national TV, when they accused them of criminal battery, and lying to police.
The Court dismissed the bulk of their complaint finding that their allegations were too broad and lacked specificity but did find merit in the brothers’ claim that they were defamed when they were accused of criminal battery while wearing white face, thus implicating them in a hate crime.
The attorney for the Osundairo brothers is claiming victory.
“In reviewing the Court’s opinion of this matter, we are enlightened by the Court’s current view of the pleadings and are weighing a possible amendment to the complaint,” said Gregory Kulis.
For now, the lawsuit is moving forward on the basis of one claim against Smollet’s attorneys.
“This lawsuit was ridiculous when it was filed and as predicted, it was dismissed,” said Mark Geragos. “Next up, we will hold those responsible accountable….as for Jussie’s case in Chicago, that travesty will soon pass as the Indictment was and is nothing more than a not so transparent attempt to take out a Progressive prosecutor and the People of Chicago saw through that.”
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