Lawyer Calls Jussie Smollett 'Real Victim' as Prosecutor Slams Actor's 'Secret Plan' for Hate Hoax
In late January 2019, 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett was hospitalised after two men allegedly attacked him on a street in Chicago. The actor claimed that the attackers were wearing red caps and shouted pro-Trump slogans, as they tied a noose around his neck.
Jussie Smollett was the "real victim", his defence attorney Nenye Uche said in opening statements at a trial on Monday, brushing off the claims that the actor had staged a hoax attack on himself in January 2019.
Authorities allege that Smollett paid two Nigerian-born brothers $3,500 to carry out an attack against him to promote his career because he was allegedly unhappy with his salary on the hit TV series Empire.
Uche stressed that the two brothers assaulted Smollett in January 2019 because they didn’t like him and the money that they were paid by Jussie Smollett was for training so he could prepare for a music video and not for staging a hoax attack, as prosecutors claim.
In turn, special prosecutor Dan Webb argued that Smollett had "developed a secret plan that would make it appear that there was actually a hate crime that actually occurred against him by supporters of Donald Trump".
In January 2019, Jussie Smollett reported to Chicago police that he had been attacked by two men shouting racist and homophobic slogans. He also linked the attack to his criticism of Donald Trump, claiming that the attackers were wearing red caps, and shouted "This is MAGA country", as they allegedly tied a noose around his neck.
The attackers - - Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo - were subsequently identified and detained. They testified that the actor had paid them $3,500 to stage an attack on himself in the hope that this would help develop his career. Smollett was detained in February but later released on bail. He denied all charges.
In March, the actor was charged with filing a false report with the police. The investigation concluded that Smollett himself had organised a hoax hate crime. In this regard, 16 charges of violation of public order were brought against him. However, the charges were subsequently dropped without explanation.
Smollett is now charged with felony disorderly conduct which carries a prison sentence of up to three years. It's unclear whether the actor, whose career went downhill since the alleged attack, will testify himself, but the two brothers are expected to take the witness stand. The trial will last a week.