Jussie Smollett returned to the witness stand Tuesday at his trial in Chicago, where the former “Empire” actor repeatedly denied claims that he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself and called brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who testified against him, “liars.”
Lawyers for the former “Empire” actor rested their case shortly after Smollett finished a second day of testimony at the Chicago courthouse on charges he lied to police about the January 2019 attack. Prosecutors said they had no other witnesses to call, and Judge James Linn scheduled closing arguments for Wednesday.
Smollett told jurors Monday “there was no hoax” and that the Osundairo brothers’ testimony that he paid them $3,500 to carry out the fake attack was “100% false.” He explained that the $3,500 check to Abimbola Osundairo was for meal and workout plans because he was trying to get toned for an upcoming music video.
Defense attorneys have suggested the Osundairo brothers were motivated to accuse Smollett of staging the hoax because they disliked him and saw an opportunity to make money. They suggested that after the two brothers were questioned by police about the alleged attack, they asked Smollett for $1 million each to not testify against him at trial.
Smollett’s lawyers also have argued that Chicago police rushed to judgment when they brought charges against Smollett, and suggested a third person may have been involved in the attack.
Smollett, 39, is charged with felony disorderly conduct for what law enforcement and prosecutors believe was a false police report about the alleged attack. The Class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years in prison, but experts say if Smollett is convicted he likely would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service.