Jussie Smollett tells jury he didn't direct a fake attack on himself

Jussie Smollett spoke on Monday in a bid to convince a Chicago jury he didn’t have orchestrate a hate crime against himself but, on the...


Jussie Smollett spoke on Monday in a bid to convince a Chicago jury he didn’t have orchestrate a hate crime against himself but, on the contrary, was the victim both of a real attack and of the haste of the police to judge him by indicting him.

Mr Smollett, 39, submitted to questioning in his own trial to refute the testimony of two key witnesses, Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, brothers who said in court last week that Mr. Smollett had explained to them in detail how to attack him, including shouting racist and homophobic slurs at him.

The Osundairo brothers said Mr Smollett led them through a ‘running race’ of the attack the day before it happened in January 2019 and asked one of them to bruise him without inflicting him of actual injuries while the other put a rope around. his neck and poured bleach on him.

But Mr Smollet sought to undermine the prosecution’s evidence with his own explanations, claiming that the $ 3,500 check he made to Abimbola Osundairo had been to help him look “torn” for an upcoming music video (not as payment for the attack, as prosecutors argued), and that he refused to hand over his cell phone to investigators to protect his own privacy (not to prevent them from discovering texts suspects).

“Have you ever planned a hoax?” Mr. Smollett’s lawyer, Nenye Uche, asked the actor.

“Never in my life,” replied Mr. Smollett.

Throughout his five hours of testimony, Mr. Smollett could demean himself and was often animated, at one point in the courtroom how one of his attackers had approached him on the freezing Chicago night, almost three years ago.

Prosecutors argued Mr Smollett organized the attack because he was upset that the show he starred on, Fox’s hip-hop drama “Empire” did not take a letter seriously. threat he had received at the studio.

Mr Smollett refuted this explanation, testifying that he refused the offer of the additional security studio – he was reportedly driven from his home to the set every day.

“I am a grown man,” Mr. Smollett said. “I don’t need to be driven like Miss Daisy.”

Mr Smollett, whose defense team claimed the brothers attacked him in an attempt to scare him into hiring them as security, said Abimbola Osundairo consistently suggested he act as his bodyguard. Sometimes, he said, Mr. Osundairo’s demeanor reminded him of a secret service agent. Earlier Monday, Brett Mahoney, “Empire” showrunner, said the show took the threat letter “very seriously” and sought to provide Mr. Smollett with additional security.

Mr Smollett also gave a different version of what happened on January 25, 2019, just days before the attack, when the prosecution said Mr Smollett asked Abimbola Osundairo for help in a text message “on the bottom”. The actor said he is looking to meet – not plan his own assault – to arrange to obtain a herbal steroid from Nigeria that helps people lose body fat and is illegal in United States.

“At some point did you tell him about a hoax? Mr. Uche, Mr. Smollett’s lawyer, asked.

“No,” replied Mr. Smollett.

Daniel K. Webb, the special prosecutor in charge of the case, questioned Mr Smollett at length on why, after writing the initial police report, he refused to give up his cell phone, medical records and a sample. from cheeks to the police. Mr Smollett has said on numerous occasions that he did so to preserve his privacy.

Mr Webb also asked why, when Mr Smollett gave police a limited batch of his phone records, he ruled out a call with Abimbola Osundairo that took place an hour and 10 minutes before the attack. Mr Smollett said a detective only requested call tapes an hour before and an hour after the attack.

Mr. Smollett sought early in his testimony to indicate how happy he had been with his role in “Empire” and, when asked directly, said he had no problem with Fox. Instead, Mr Smollett, who is gay, testified that it was a blessing to win the role of Jamal Lyon, a gay singer-songwriter who so closely mirrored his identity, and ultimately to win $ 100,000. per episode.

“I had never seen a homosexual man – let alone a homosexual black man – represented,” Mr. Smollett said. “I really, really wanted to do it.”

The defense also called Anthony Moore, a security guard who worked in Mr. Smollett’s apartment building. Mr Moore testified that he told police he saw the attackers flee the scene that night and identified one of them as a white man wearing a ski mask. (He said he could tell he was white because he pointed a flashlight in his face.) Mr. Smollett first told police that one of his attackers was white, then later said he had pale skin, which police pointed out as an inconsistency in his story.

“With the things that were said, I assumed they were white,” Mr Smollett said on Monday.

Early in his testimony, Mr. Smollett introduced himself to the jury, in a long biographical summary of his career, as someone who grew up in a family of middle-class artists, got work as a child actor, got deeply involved in charitable organizations and returned to the theater, landing the lead role in “Empire”.

In January 2019, when the attack was reported, public sympathy for Mr Smollett was immediate and widespread. But as police investigation into the report stalled, suspicion grew about Mr Smollett’s account, though the actor backed it up.

“It’s like I said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel the skeptics would have supported me a lot more,” Mr Smollett said. . Recount ABC Robin roberts in February of that year. “Much more.”

A few days after this television interview, Mr. Smollett was arrested for organizing the assault.

Osundairo brothers told police Mr Smollett orchestrated the whole thing, giving them a $ 100 bill to purchase supplies for the attack, including ski masks, rope and a red hat meant to indicate the attackers were supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.

“He wanted me to fight and throw him to the ground and bruise him while my brother Ola poured bleach on him and put a rope around him and then we would run away,” said Abimbola Osundairo.

Prosecutors cited as evidence Mr Smollett’s Instagram messages to Abimbola Osundairo the night of the attack, briefing the brothers on his flight delay.

Mr. Smollett has claimed his innocence, plead not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct relating to filing a false police report and insisting that the attack had occurred as he initially described it.

“They won’t let go,” Mr. Smollett said in an Instagram interview Last year. “There is an example that is done, and the saddest thing is that there is an example that is made of someone who has not done what they are accused of.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: Jussie Smollett tells jury he didn't direct a fake attack on himself
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