Jussie Smollett, the “real victim” of “real crime,” his lawyer said in opening remarks at the trial of the former “Empire” actor on Monday, dismissing the prosecutors’ allegations he displayed. Homophobic and racist attacks The television studio where he worked in Chicago did not take seriously the hate mail he received afterwards.
Defense Attorney Nye Uche said in January 2019 that the two brothers attacked Smollett for not liking him. $ 3,500 check The actor paid the men for training so he could prepare for the upcoming music video, which was not paid to display a hate crime as prosecutors allege. Uche pointed out that the third assailants were involved and told the jury that there was no “shatter” of the physical and forensic evidence that Smollett had been charged by criminal prosecutors.
“Jussie Smollett is a real victim,” Uche said.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb said the actor hired the brothers to carry out the fake attack, then reported it to Chicago police, who classified it as a hate crime and spent 3,000 staff hours investigating. Smollett said supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked her, which triggered political and ideological divisions across the country.
Webb, who was named special prosecutor after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox’s office dropped the original charges filed against Smollett, said, “When they report a felony hate crime that’s a real crime,” Webb said. A The new indictment Returned in 2020.
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Smollett, who arrived in Chicago court Monday with his mother and other family members, is charged with criminal misconduct. The Class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts say if Smollett is found guilty he will be put on probation and possibly ordered to perform community service.
Weblet told jurors that Smollett was unhappy with how the studio handled the letter he received. The letter included a wooden stick and “MAGA,” referring to the announcement of Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign, Webb said.
Smollett later fabricated a fake attack and had a “dress rehearsal” with two brothers – who worked with Smollett on the “Empire” set – including racist and homophobic abuse and shouting “maga.” Smollett told the brothers to buy ski masks, red hats and rope, Webb told the judge.
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“He used the rope to make it look like a hate crime,” Webb said.
But Smollett turned down extra security when the studio offered it, Uche said. He portrayed brothers Abimbola and Olabinzo Osundiro as unbelievable, said Smollett’s story had not changed, and that his story had changed when police searched for heroin and firearms at his home.
Twelve jurors and three alternates were sworn into trial at the end of Monday, Judge James Lynn said, which is expected to take about a week. Cameras are not allowed inside the court, and unlike other recent high-profile trials, hearings are not livestreamed.
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Whether Smollett is black and gay is an open question. But the siblings take a witness stand.
Referees can also see Surveillance video from more than four dozen cameras Police checked to track the brothers’ movements before and after the reported attack, as well as a video showing the brothers buying supplies hours ago.
Buried in about 500 pages of Chicago Police Department reports, a resident of the area says he saw a white man with “reddish brown hair” who appeared to be waiting for someone that night. When the man pulled away from her, she told the detective she could “see the rope underneath his jacket.”
Her comments could back up Smollett’s argument, and his attacker rolled a temporary loop around his neck. Moreover, if she testified that the man was white, it would support Smollett’s assertions – that the brothers from widely ridiculed Nigeria were black – that he saw pale or white skin around the eyes of his masked suitors.