Smollett Becomes Aggressive During Trial When Cornered by Texts With Alleged Attacker - Report
00:59 GMT 08.12.2021 (Updated: 01:01 GMT 08.12.2021)
The prosecution claims that the actor, who claimed to be attacked by two "white" males in early 2019, initially exploited the explosive racial issue in the hopes of garnering more headlines, but then backed off as his story unraveled. Smollett's defense is now reportedly attempting to claim he was targeted due to homophobia.
Jussie Smollett, the former star of "Empire," became hostile as he ended his testimony in the alleged false hate crime case, set for closing arguments and possible jury deliberations on December 8, The New York Post reported.
The actor testified for five hours on Monday, and the prosecution finished its cross-examination of the embattled defendant on the stand for another two and a half hours, according to the report.
When special prosecutor Dan Webb questioned the 39-year-old about some of his private Instagram texts with Abimbola "Bola" Osundairo, one of the two brothers he allegedly paid to arrange the hoax in January 2019, he lost his temper and became irritable.
The prosecution claimed Smollett was informing Osundairo that his jet would be late arriving in Chicago from New York City so that the siblings could better schedule the attack, while the defense claims it was just Smollett informing his gym partner that he would be late for their next session.
Thus, when Webb read aloud one of Smollett's messages that contained the N-word and did not bother to filter it for the court, he became enraged.
"Sir, can you just spell the word or not say it out of respect for every African American in this room?" Smollett exclaimed.
The prosecutor reportedly apologized and asked the actor to read the messages out loud, one of which read "N**ga finally made it just landed haha." Webb then clarified the time of the text, to which Smollett leaned forward and mockingly corrected him about the exact timing.
According to the report on the trial, Smollett admitted during his cross-examination that he initially stated that his assailants were white, but later revised his account to claim they were "pale" because it was the "responsible" thing to do.
"I didn’t want to make the assumption that they were white. So I said, ‘Let me change that and just say that they were pale-skinned,'" Smollett is quoted as saying. "They could’ve been a white person, they could have been a pale someone else."
And when asked if he described them as white to draw more attention to the incident, he responded, "You'd have to ask someone who actually did a fake hate crime." Both brothers who are said to be the perpetrators, however, are of Nigerian origin.
1 December 2021, 02:46 GMT
Moreover, during questioning, Smollett became combative when discussing his Instagram activity during the time of the alleged crime on another occasion, suggesting prosecutor Dan Webb did not "understand Instagram."
Smollett said the prosecution misrepresented the dialogue by failing to mention that he had also openly lamented his long-delayed trip in a series of public Instagram stories, adding that "it's not fair" that the prosecution did not show "the actual Insta stories that I posted, they’re not getting the full story so they don’t understand."
To that, Webb admitted to being older than the defendant, so he may not understand the social network, but pointed out that he showed only the personal messages between Osundairo and Smollett.
The judge reportedly had to get involved in the exchange, telling the actor to "answer his questions without arguing."
The incident was real, according to Smollett's lawyers, but prosecutors claim Smollett hired Abimbola Osundairo and his brother, Olabinjo, for $3,500 to "fake beat him up" and get attention, while Smollett himself protested about the prosecutor's line of questioning as the cross-examination went on.
"It’s difficult to answer yes and no when little bits are thrown in there that aren’t true… when some things are true, and some aren’t, it’s hard to say yes or no," the actor said.
He said that an hour and a half before the purported attack, he called Osundairo to reschedule their workout for the next morning, despite the fact that the coach reportedly never showed up for the purported session.
When Webb pressed Smollett on why he had not received any messages about rescheduling the session, the actor exploded, per the Post's report.
"There’s also no messages about an attack, yet I’m on trial for an attack I didn’t do," he stressed.
Earlier, the embattled actor stated during the trial that he had sexual contact with Bola Osundairo. Smollett claimed that the two allegedly used drugs "and made out" one night. Osundairo has denied having a sexual relationship with him.
7 December 2021, 13:01 GMT
Smollett faces up to three years in prison if convicted on six felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police.