Jussie Smollett, Accused of Hate Crimes Hoax, Testifies in His Trial
In SummaryThe Empire actor is accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself in 2019.
Jussie Smollett took the stand on Monday at his trial where he’s been accused of staging a hate crime attack against himself and lying to the Chicago Police Department about the incident, according to the Associated Press.
Smollett told the jury about his upbringing, coming to terms with his sexuality as a Black gay man and auditioning for Empire, in which he played a Black gay singer.
The actor has denied staging the 2019 attack, maintaining that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony disorderly conduct charges, BNC previously reported.
Smollett claimed he was attacked in Chicago in January 2019 by two men who yelled out racist and homophobic slurs, placed a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him.
The two men, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, claimed the former Empire actor paid them to attack him as a way to boost his career. They allege Smollett paid them $3,500 and told them to put the noose around his neck and yell out slurs.
Defense attorneys reportedly pushed back against this claim, saying the brothers’ claim the actor staged the attack was motivated by their dislike of him, according to AP. They reportedly asked Smollett for $1 million each to not testify against him at the trial, the actor’s defense team claimed.
Smollett faces up to three years in prison, if convicted, but will most likely be placed on probation and be sentenced to do community service, AP reported.