Cast Jussie Smollett defended himself Monday afternoon, staunchly denying allegations that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack against himself.
“There was no hoax,” he told the jury in Chicago, Illinois.
Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo gave damning testimony last week, asserting that Smollett wrote them a check for $3,500 to carry out the fake attack in January 2019.
On Monday, Smollett claimed he had “never” offered money for the assault, telling jurors he had written them a check for nutrition advice and training from Abimbola . He also denied giving $100 to the brothers to pay for supplies, including rope to make the noose, for the hoax.
In his testimony, Smollett said he arrived at his apartment building from the airport around 1:45 a.m. on January 29, 2019. He intended to enter through the back door but did not find his key, he says. That’s when he heard someone shouting “Empire!” watched him from across the street, but he kept walking because he heard it “all the time,” Smollett testified.
Smollett said after hearing the taunts, “Empire f —- tn —- r!” he realizes someone is coming towards him. That masked man threw a punch to his temple, he alleges.
“I like to think I’ve landed a punch. But I know I threw one,” Smollett said.
The actor testified that he also remembers hearing the words along the lines of “This is MAGA country.” He said he had assumed at least one of his attackers was white because of the profanity used, and because the skin around their eyes over their ski masks was white.
Smollett said that after slipping on the ice, the masked attackers fled, and it was not until he reached the top of the stairs to enter his apartment that he realized there was a noose wrapped around it. my neck. He testified that it was his creative director who initially called the police and that he was afraid to report the incident, believing it could ruin his chances of landing some of the roles later. when he was “beaten”.
“I am a black man in America. I don’t trust the police,” Smollett said. “I was also a celebrity at the time and I’m an openly gay man.”
Earlier in his testimony, Smollett described his sexual relationship with one of the Osundairo brothers, who accused him of plotting a hate crime.
Smollett describes his first meeting with Abimbola Osundairo in 2017 at a club while filming the fourth season of the series. Empire. The two used drugs together at the club and then went to a bathhouse, he said.
“We were in a club, you go to the bathroom, you go to a stall, bump, bump and then just keep going in and then we go into the bathroom,” Smollet testified and added that they made “more drugs and produced them. “
The next time they met, Abimbola was with his brother, Olabinjo Osundairo, at a strip club. Smollett said he and Abimbola had to “sneak” out of that club to go to a gay bathhouse together, adding that he felt his relationship with Abimbola was one that should be kept quiet. and not “considerate” in the presence of Olabinjo.
“This time we went alone. We had our own room again, we got high and made up a little bit and this time, we masturbated together,” he said.
Although little is known about Olabinjo, who was previously convicted of heavier batteries, Smollett said he was “terrified” by him.
“Every time we were around him, he didn’t talk to me. Every time we needed to leave, he made it look like we needed to sneak out,” Smollett said of Olabinjo.
When asked if he could trust him, Smollett said, “I know I can’t.”
Smollett took the stand shortly after noon on Monday, testifying initially about his humble childhood and the large sums of money that he eventually started to become a star. Empire. The actor has been charged with lying to police and charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false statements to police during the assault.
During the trial that began on November 29, Special Counsel Daniel Webb stated at the outset that Smollett hatched a “secret plan” in January 2019, asking the Osundairo brothers to help him execute it. a racist and homophobic attack by supporters of Donald Trump.
Last week, two brothers told the jury that the actor paid them to carry out the prank attack in Chicago., Smollett said that Smollett directed them to the delivery route and paid for the rope he asked them to tie a noose around his neck. Abimbola denies having an affair with Smollett, proof that he is heterosexual.
Prosecutors allege that Smollett devised the plan because he was upset Empire studio declined to take the hate mail he received in earnest. But on Monday, Smollett confirmed he had actually turned down the studio’s offer for more security.
The Osundairo brothers alleged last week that before the stunt, Smollett asked the two to perform the fake attack in front of surveillance cameras and hoped to post video of the assault on social media as part of a publicity stunt, they said.
Authorities asserted that texts and accounts by two people linked to the star supported allegations that Smollett hired attackers to raise his national profile.
But Smollett’s defense attorney, Nenye Uche, insisted that it was wrong to rush to condemn Smollett, arguing last week that the actor was a “real victim” of a “real crime” and $3,500 that Smollett provided to the two men. is to practice for an upcoming music video and not money in exchange for hate crimes.
“Jussie Smollett was a victim – it’s a shame I have to say it,” Uche said at the time. “This haste to judge ruined Jussie’s life.”
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