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Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe of “The Wire” fame has alleged in Brooklyn criminal court that a journalist sexually abused him on two occasions — while the scribe’s lawyer insisted Monday that the contact was part of a consensual relationship between the pair.
Akinnagbe — who played murderous drug organization enforcer Chris Partlow across three seasons of the acclaimed HBO crime drama — alleged that Lola Adesioye grabbed his buttocks during two separate encounters in May and June 2020, according to a criminal complaint.
Adesioye, a journalist whose work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian and the New Statesman, was arrested on May 26, 2021 and hit with charges including forcible touching, sexual abuse and harassment, public records show.
But Adesioye’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, said Monday that they had evidence showing that Adesioye and Akinnagbe were in a consensual relationship, including three binders filled with flirty text messages exchanged between the pair since they met at a party in 2019, as well as photos of them together.
“In that first binder are hundreds of text messages back and forth from one another that make it very clear that you have two young people flirting with one another,” Gottlieb told The Post. “They were talking about snuggling. … They talk about kissing.”
The messages span three distinct eras, Gottlieb said: Prior to the first alleged instance of sexual abuse, in between the two alleged incidents, and since the encounters.
Complicating matters, Adesioye moved into a Brooklyn apartment owned by Akinnagbe amid the alleged untoward behavior, and worked on his behalf — even after what Akinnagbe would later characterize as abuse, Gottlieb said.
“After this last incident were all the text messages which show a continuation of their relationship, but now it’s clear she feels hurt and abused by this fellow because while all of this is going on she moves from her apartment in Manhattan and moves into an apartment that he owns and she is a neighbor of his now,” the lawyer said.
“They take trips upstate and this is after he alleged that she committed the sexual crimes against him,” he continued. “She was working for him 24/7. She was on call every single second of every day — on weekends, writing press releases for him.”
Gottlieb said that the relationship soured earlier this year when Adesioye fell behind on her rent to Akinnagbe, and demanded that she be paid for her work.
They brought dueling civil cases against each other, with Adesioye seeking compensation for her labor, and Akinnagbe seeking back rent.
Though the civil cases between the pair were eventually settled, Akinnagbe then filed criminal charges against Adesioye over the alleged sexual abuse, Gottlieb said.
“She demanded payment for the work and he demanded money on back rent and they settled and everybody thought the matter was closed,” he said. “Shortly after the matter was settled, she gets a knock on the door from the police.”
Adesioye has since moved out of the apartment, her attorney said.
The criminal case was originally slated to go to trial on Monday, but was postponed to Aug. 10 when prosecutors said they were not fully prepared, according to Gottlieb.
“I told them they should not contact me with any offer other than an outright dismissal,” said Gottlieb of prosecutors. “The charges are blatantly false.
“I’m hoping that the district attorney will do the right thing and dismiss the case.”
An agent and manager publicly listed as representing Akinnagbe — who is appearing this summer in a Shakespeare in the Park adaptation of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” — did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona
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