The trial of former Empire star, Jussie Smollett begins with jury selection today.
Smollett said he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in downtown Chicago in January 2019. Two brothers, who worked with Smollett on Empire, say he paid them $3,500 to pose as his attackers.
The Guardian recaps the charges,
Smollett is accused of lying to police about the alleged attack and has been charged with felony disorderly conduct. The crime carries a sentence of up to three years in prison but experts have said it is more likely that if Smollett is convicted he would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service.
Whether Smollett testifies remains an open question. But the siblings, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, will take the witness stand where they are expected to repeat what they have told police officers and prosecutors – that they carried out the attack at Smollett’s behest.
Jurors also may see surveillance video from more than four dozen cameras that police reviewed to trace the brothers’ movements before and after the reported attack, as well as a video showing the brothers purchasing a red hat, ski masks and gloves from a beauty supply shop hours earlier.
A statement from a woman who lived in the area says she saw a white man with “reddish brown hair”… she said that when the man turned away from her, she
“could see hanging out from underneath his jacket what appeared to be a rope”.
Her statement back up Smollett who told police his attackers draped a makeshift noose around his neck.
But given there is LOTS of evidence, including the brothers’ own statements, that they participated in the attack, it is not likely that Smollett’s attorneys will try to prove they did not take part at all.
Except that Smollett says that the reason he wrote the $3500 check was to pay one of them as his personal trainer.
The brothers are not facing the same criminal charges as Smollett, despite admitting to taking part in the staged attack. Stay tuned…
Jury selection starts Monday in the trial of former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett, who is accused of making false reports to authorities that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019. https://t.co/wZArGBbA0V— CNN (@CNN) November 29, 2021
(via The Guardian)