Jussie Smollett returned to the witness stand on Tuesday during his trial in Chicago, where the former “Empire” actor called allegations he staged an anti-gay racist attack on himself “100% fake “.
Prosecutors continued cross-examination of the 39-year-old, who appeared calm after several hours of testimony on Monday. He told jurors on Monday that “there had been no hoaxes” and that he had been the victim of a hate crime in his downtown Chicago neighborhood.
Smollett, who faces charges of lying to Chicago police about the January 2019 attack, sought to refute the damaging testimony of two brothers last week.
They said Smollett, who is gay and black, orchestrated the hoax to get publicity, giving them $ 100 for supplies and asking them to tie a noose around his neck and shout homophobic slurs. They also said Smollett gave them a check for $ 3,500 to take it.
Below are live updates from inside the courthouse, starting on day 6 of the trial. We will update this story as more information becomes available.
– Jussie Smollett took the witness stand for a second day and more of cross-examination by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb
Smollett testified on several occasions during his questioning about the sequence of events of January 2019 that there was no false attack, that he had in fact been attacked, and he denied previous testimony that he had planned a phased attack.
Webb then asks about Jan. 27, 2019. Smollett testifies that he went to pick up Bola Osundairo for a workout from his apartment building’s gym because Bola said “the Ubers were crazy”.
Smollett says Bola didn’t wear sports clothes, and he didn’t need them because Smollett was the one who would be training. He said Bola’s brother, Ola got in the car and said hello, and nothing more.
Smollett describes Ola as “weird” and since he and Bola were smoking weed, he took a phone call, drove around his neighborhood, and because it was “uncomfortable” he used the phone call as an excuse. to stop training.
Webb then asks about the evening of Jan. 28-29, 2019, specifically the text messages Smollett sent privately to Bola about the status of his return flight to Chicago. Smollett said Bola called him shortly after landing and Bola said they would meet at 9:30 a.m. the next morning for a practice session as scheduled.
Smollett says no messages were exchanged about the plan to train that night or the next morning. He denied that the attack was organized and said he did not trust the Osundairo brothers, and their testimony about the attack scheduled for 2 a.m. was a “bold lie”.
Webb then separates Smollett’s police reports and his Good Morning America interview where he says the attacker he saw was white. Smollett then clarifies that he said he assumed they were white based on the pale skin he saw and what they said – using the n word and the reference to the MAGA country.
Smollett says he would never call someone white based on how they acted or spoke because “that would be racist.” He said he changed his description to “pale skin” because he wasn’t sure the attacker was white.
– Webb says he has no more questions and the trial will end shortly before noon. Either the cross-examination will continue or the defense will begin the reorientation.
– The defense had a brief redirect with Jussie, with Nenye Uche pointing out that Smollett could have been lying on the stand to find out if the brothers were in the car, as surveillance footage did not show them entering or exiting his vehicle at at all times, and the windows were tinted.
Uche reviewed the text messages Smollett sent to someone while in the car with the brothers during the “run”; Smollett said there had been phone calls to this person as well. He confirmed he had smoked weed and driven with Bola before.
Smollett testified that he cooperated with the FBI investigating the hate mail, providing a DNA sample and his cell phone, and that he did not trust the CPD with his privacy, and that the brothers requested $ 1 million each to testify that it had nothing to do with the attack.
– In crossbreeding, Smollett confirmed that he provided his phone and a DNA sample to the FBI months later. Smollett also clarified during Webb’s investigation that the brothers had never called, texted, or spoken to him about the $ 2 million arrangement in exchange for favorable testimony; Smollett said it was their lawyers or agents who contacted his representatives.
– The seventh and final defense witness was David Elegbe, the Uber driver who responded to the brothers’ Uber request in the early hours of January 29, 2019. He said the first to enter the Uber spoke, but hadn’t seen a phone. He also said the brothers changed destinations along the way. Tamara Walker asked Elegbe that an Uber ride can only be changed through the app; Elegbe said if someone else orders the Uber for one person, that person could change the destination. Elegbe said the brothers saw a taxi and asked him to stop driving, and they got out.
– Mendenhall in his cross-examination asked if Elegbe knew that the two people in the car were actors, and suggested that the first to enter rehearse his lines for a staged attack.
– The defense has finished its case; prosecutors said they had no rebuttal witnesses.
–Justice Linn asked the jury to begin oral argument at 9:15 am CT Wednesday.
The first witness called by the Defense is Anthony Moore. Moore is a security guard at the Sheraton Grand on North Water Street and was on duty the night of the alleged attack.
Moore testified that he was on duty at 2 a.m. at the Chicago Burger Company inside the hotel. He said he heard someone coming towards him and pointed his flightlight to see who it was.
Moore testifies that he saw a male figure coming towards him dressed in black with a mask. Moore said he pointed the flashlight directly at his face and the man came a foot or two closer. Moore said he saw the man was a white man because he could see the eyes through the man’s mask.
Moore then said the man ran past him saying “It’s cold, it’s cold”. Moore testifies that he also saw a second man who was shorter and wider, and someone else from a distance who appeared to be on all fours looking for something.
Just after noon, Smollett is called to the bar, and the first questions to the actor relate to his background. When asked what he does for a living, Smollett replies “artist”.
Lawyers then asked Smollett to describe his relationship with Bola Osundairo.
Smollett calls him “Good” and says that Osundairo was initially introduced to him in 2019 as a security, for the time when Smollett was attending clubs. It turned out that he also worked on Empire as a “background actor”.
Smollett testifies that they became friends and that the first night they may have taken drugs, cocaine and weed, and were granted a private room in a public bath. âWe took more drugs and kissed,â says Smollett.
Later that day, Smollett continued to testify about the nature of his relationship with Bola, saying he agreed to pay her $ 3,500 for training and meal plans in order to get in shape for a music video.
Learn more about Smollett’s testimony here.
Check out the full PA coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.