Chicago actor Jussie Smollett denied accusations that he paid two Nigerian brothers to help him stage a fake crime in January 2019, saying a $3,500 check he gave the men was for diet and exercise advice.
“There was no hoax,” Smollett said on Monday, as he took the stand in his trial on six felony charges stemming from allegedly false reports that he made to police. His lawyers have suggested that the two brothers accused the ‘Empire’ star of orchestrating his own attack as part of a plot to extort $2 million from him.
Lawyer Nenye Uche also claimed last week that the two men were motivated by homophobia and their dislike of Smollett, who is gay and black. But the actor testified on Monday that he had a sexual relationship with one of the brothers, Abimbola Osundairo, who worked on the set of ‘Empire,’ and did drugs with him. He added that he also met Olabinjo Osundairo but didn’t trust him and noted that “he kind of freaked me out.”
<blockquote> <span><strong>Read more</strong></span> <figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2021.12/thumbnail/61a96acb20302702ab4441b0.JPG" alt="Former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett arrives at court on the first full day of his trial for six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police, in Chicago, Illinois, November 30, 2021." /> <figcaption><a href="/usa/542052-smollett-defense-mistrial-request/">Smollett attorney says judge ‘physically lunged’ at her</a></figcaption> </figure> </blockquote>
The Osundairos previously testified that Smollett had paid them with a $3,500 check to carry out the fake attack on him and gave them $100 to buy bleach and rope to make a noose. The brothers were caught on surveillance video buying the supplies, including a red hat to resemble supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Jurors last week were shown video of Smollett and the Osundairo brothers staging an alleged “dry run” days before the attack.
Smollett described his attackers to police as two white men and said they yelled anti-gay and racist slurs at him, as well as proclaiming “This is MAGA country,” in the 2 am assault. He alleged that they threw bleach on him and put a noose around his neck, which he was still wearing when police arrived at his apartment about an hour after the attack.
The story made international headlines as media outlets and Democrat politicians pounced on the incident as an example of rampant bigotry and hate crimes in Trump’s America. Smollett did a tearful interview with ABC News anchor Robin Roberts, expressing his outrage that some people doubted his story and suggesting that the attackers were motivated by his public criticism of Trump.
Smollett added that he would have faced less skepticism if he had said his attackers were Muslim, Hispanic or black.
“It’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth,” he told Roberts. “You don’t even want to see the truth.”
After two dozen detectives spent about 3,000 man-hours investigating what was initially believed to be a high-profile hate crime, they concluded that Smollett was lying. The city of Chicago sued the actor in April 2019, alleging false reports and demanding that he pay back more than $130,000 in investigation costs.
https://ift.tt/3GbL9eq 07, 2021 at 06:20AM
from RT – Daily news