Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett denied Monday that he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself in downtown Chicago, testifying at his trial that “there was no hoax.”
Smollett said he wrote the $3,500 check for nutrition and training advice from one of the brothers, Abimbola Osundairo, while he was going to be out of town, not as payment for Osundairo and his brother to carry out the attack.
Asked by his defense attorney if he gave Osundairo payment for some kind of hoax, Smollett replied: “Never.” He also said “absolutely not” when asked if he gave Osundairo and his brother $100 to pay for supplies for the hoax.
The Washington Post reports:
Both Osundairos had worked on “Empire.” According to the AP, Smollett testified that he learned of Abimbola Osundairo’s job on the show after meeting him at a club in 2017. The actor said they did drugs together and “made out” at a bathhouse, which eventually led to a sexual relationship.
(Osundairo denied that characterization of his relationship with Smollett last week, when the defense argued Osundairo was using the “sexual tension” to advance his own career.)
Abimbola Osundairo testified last week that he was a friend, physical trainer and occasional drug supplier to Smollett, and that they were close enough for Osundairo to consider the actor his brother. In January 2019, Osundairo said, Smollett asked the brothers to “fake beat him up” and yell slurs at him.
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett testifies “there was no hoax” during his trial on charges he lied to Chicago police about a racist, anti-gay attack. Two brothers have testified that Smollett, who is gay and Black, paid them $3,500 to carry out a fake attack.https://t.co/PqScDJtWb2
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 6, 2021