(CNN)Extinct “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett took the stand in his ongoing prison trial Monday in a excessive-stakes are attempting and rebut charges that he staged a deceptive despise crime and lied to Chicago Police about it in January 2019.
Closing week, brothers “Bola” and “Ola” Osundairo testified that Smollett, who’s Sunless and homosexual, directed and paid them to invent a sham anti-homosexual and racist attack in hiss to garner sympathetic media protection. Their testimony, apart from that of 5 Chicago police investigators, fashioned the core of the prosecution’s case in opposition to Smollett.
But below oath Monday, Smollett offered testimony over extra than two hours that suggested the brothers — whom he knew from the “Empire” scheme — would possibly perchance well just hang had other motivations at play.
He acknowledged Bola Osundairo, who he known as “Bon,” helped him accumulate medication, including cocaine. He additionally acknowledged a sexual relationship began to forge between the 2 at a particular Chicago bathtub condo. One night the 2 had been out, and Smollett testified they received a non-public room and “did extra medication and esteem, made out.”
On a separate occasion, Smollett told jurors he and Bola Osundairo snuck far off from his brother after the three had been at a female strip club collectively. Smollett testified they again received a non-public room and “made out moderately bit, masturbated collectively.”
In testimony final week, Bola Osundairo denied they’d a sexual relationship and acknowledged he “didn’t know” there was even any sexual tension.
Smollett testified additional Monday he wasn’t suitable the least bit with Ola Osundairo.
“He roughly creeped me out,” Smollett told jurors. “At any time when we had been around him, he didn’t discuss to me. At any time when we wanted to scurry away, he made it appear esteem we wanted to sneak off.”
After a “despise letter” was sent to Smollett within the mail on the “Empire” studio in Chicago on January 22, 2019 — seven days before the alleged attack — Smollett acknowledged Bola Osundairo approached him about changing into his non-public security guard, one thing the actor told the jury Osundairo had many cases requested him.
Following the letter, Bola Osundairo began asking him extra in regards to the need for security, Smollett acknowledged. The actor described being frustrated on the premise of regularly having a security detail around him.
“Around lunch time I would smoke my blunt, drive throughout the neighborhood of the studios. I score no longer hang to be in a persons car,” Smollett acknowledged.
Smollett told the jury that while driving around with Bola Osundairo, there was never any discussion of planning a staged despise attack.
“Did you consult with him about some hoax?” defense attorney Nenye Uche requested.
“No,” Smollett shot abet.
“Did you give him the check as price for some silly hoax?” Uche then requested.
“Never,” Smollett acknowledged.
Particular prosecutor Dan Webb began to unsuitable-see the actor just before 5 p.m. CT.
Smollett, 39, has pleaded no longer guilty to 6 counts of disorderly behavior, a fee for which a conviction is punishable by up to just a few years in detention heart. His defense attorneys hang acknowledged he was a valid sufferer and hang suggested throughout the trial that homophobia would possibly perchance well just hang been a motive within the attack.
The resolution to testify in a single’s hang defense is a excessive-likelihood scurry because the prosecution is allowed to scrupulously unsuitable-see the defendant.
In latest weeks, two defendants in other excessive-profile homicide trials hang taken the stand. Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three of us in Kenosha, Wisconsin, final one year, testified in his hang defense, and a jury sooner or later acquitted him of all charges. In Georgia, a jury convicted Travis McMichael of homicide in Ahmaud Arbery’s loss of life after he took the stand.
Smollett’s case entails far less extreme charges, and is untied to civilians the expend of lethal weapons.
How the trial has long gone to this point
The prosecution known as seven witnesses over the course of three days of testimony final week.
First, five police investigators testified that Smollett told them two men had attacked him within the road, yelled racist, anti-homosexual and pro-Trump remarks, set aside a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
On the opposite hand, these two men — “Bola” and “Ola” Osundairo — had been certain to be Smollett’s acquaintances from the “Empire” TV ticket. They testified that Smollett had actually directed them and paid them to stage a deceptive despise crime in an are attempting and accumulate sympathetic media protection and additional his acting occupation.
“Who was guilty of this thing?” Webb requested.
“Jussie was,” Bola Osundairo told the jury.
Smollett’s defense, within the period in-between, has argued he was actually attacked in a despise crime. They known as three witnesses final week, including Smollett’s frail music supervisor and publicist.
On Monday morning, an “Empire” executive producer testified that the ticket had got a threatening letter within the mail every week before the January 2019 incident. The producer, Brett Mahoney, acknowledged Smollett didn’t need the letter publicized.
Overall, Smollett’s defense has relied on inflammatory questioning of witnesses and outbursts that hang resulted in quite so a lot of heated exchanges with Buy James Linn.
As an instance, in unsuitable-examination of Ola Osundairo, after Linn directed the defense to scurry on from a particular line of questioning, defense attorney Tamara Walker requested for a mistrial, sobbed in court after which acknowledged the mediate had “lunged” at her throughout a sidebar dialog.
The mediate denied the accusation and denied the movement for a mistrial, announcing he was alarmed by the quiz of.
“Ms. Walker, there hang been objections that had to be sustained and I was attempting to accumulate abet on point,” the mediate acknowledged. “Actual because you suspect you had been allowed to scurry one formula, we’re all just doing our jobs.”
The trial is the final consequence of a case that began when Smollett told police he had been attacked. Celebrities, politicians and advocacy teams rallied within the abet of the actor, and police poured major resources into fixing the case and discovering the 2 men.
But after interviewing the Osundairo brothers and discovering other evidence, authorities as yet any other lumber that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the despise crime in opposition to him so he would possibly perchance well accumulate publicity and a occupation enhance.
Smollett was indicted on 16 prison counts of disorderly behavior by a Cook dinner County, Illinois, enormous jury in March 2019, but Cook dinner County Inform’s Licensed skilled Kim Foxx’s place of work decided to tumble these charges weeks later. The resolution angered the mayor and police and sparked questions as as to whether or no longer Smollett had got preferential treatment.
A varied prosecutor then took over the case, and a large jury indicted Smollett on contemporary charges in February 2020.
The incident effectively set aside a halt to Smollett’s acting occupation. His persona was written off “Empire,” which ended in 2020, and though he has since directed and produced a movie, he has no longer looked on screen again.
CNN’s Christina Maxouris and Bill Kirkos contributed to this suppose.