Jussie’s lawyer claimed he is the real victim in all of this.
Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s trial began on Monday with jury selection and opening statements.
Smollett faces charges brought against him in February 2019 and February 2020 of faking a hate crime and lying to police in January 2019. He claimed two men in ski masks attacked him around 2 AM on that cold January night on the way to Subway. The men supposedly yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, put a rope around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
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Each count of disorderly conduct represents an instance during Jan. 29, 2019, and then on Feb. 14, 2019, in which Smollett allegedly lied to police.
Count 1 accuses him of telling responding Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig at around 2:45 a.m. — some 45 minutes after the purported attack — that he’d been the victim of a hate crime. He said two attackers put a rope around his neck. Count 2 refers to Smollett telling the same officer he was a victim of a battery, describing attackers beating and pouring bleach on him.
Counts 3 and 4 are when Smollett made the same claims but to a different officer, Kimberly Murray, later that morning — at just before 6 a.m.
Count 5 accuses Smollett of again telling Murray at around 7:15 p.m. that he was the victim of a battery. Count 6 refers to Smollett reporting on Feb. 14, 2019, to detective Robert Graves that he’d been a victim of an aggravated battery.
All three officers are expected to testify.
Since Smollett does not have a criminal history and no one got hurt he might not spend any time in jail. The judge might sentence him to probation.
But Chicago is ticked off because the alleged fake hate crime took time away from investigations of other crimes and cost a lot of money. We all know Chicago has a huge crime problem.
The jury consists of six men and six women with two women alternates.
The jury faces one question: “Did Smollett in fact orchestrate a phony hate crime on himself, then lie to police about being a victim?”
Special prosecutor Dan Webb alleged Smollett faked the hate crime in January 2019 with brothers Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo:
Webb said Abimbola will testify that days before the incident, Smollett texted him asking for help “on the low.” The two later talked in Smollett’s car, with the actor telling him specifically he wanted them to shout a racial epithet and “MAGA!” to make it seem like the assailants were racist supporters of President Trump.
“I want you to attack me, but when you hit me, I want you to kind of pull your punches a bit because I don’t want to get seriously hurt,” Webb said Smollett told the brothers. Smollett also instructed them to put a rope around his neck to “make it look more like a lynching, like a hate crime,” Webb said.
The three men went on a “dry run” before the attack, part of which was captured on surveillance camera, Webb said. Smollett’s Mercedes can be seen circling the Streeterville intersection, showing the brothers the area where he wanted the attack to occur, Webb said.
Webb said police “reacted swiftly” to Smollett’s allegation, putting the “full force” of the department on the case. At one point they had 26 officers and detectives working it, tallying over 3,000 man hours, according to Webb.
Defense attorney Nenye Uche placed the blame on the brothers: “They are sophisticated, highly intelligent criminals. … Jussie thought he had a friend, but that friendship ran one way, it was a one-way street.”
It’s all about Jussie’s truth because that’s all that matters I guess:
In his opening remarks, Uche said there’s no physical or forensic evidence tying Smollett to the alleged hoax. He also said there’s no evidence Smollett was upset with situation at “Empire.”
“Jussie was not a person who liked attention. Even his publicist was frustrated at him for that,” he said. “It’s fantasy.”
Uche also pointed out that the Osundairo brothers, who only accused Smollett after they were arrested upon return from a trip to Nigeria, were the only ones who have changed their story.
“From the very first moment, Jussie’s truth, what he said happened, has remained constant, it has remained consistent, it has not changed. There has not been a Part 1, there has not been a Part 2 … because it’s the truth.”
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