The defense has rested in the trial of former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who is accused of orchestrating a racist, anti-gay attack on himself in January 2019.
The 39-year-old actor was surrounded by family members, including his mother, brother Jojo and sister Jurnee as he arrived back at the courthouse Tuesday to face a withering cross examination.
Smollett denied the testimony of two brothers, Abel and Bola Osundairo, who claim Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage a fake attack in his downtown Chicago neighborhood.
On the stand, the prosecutor asked Smollett why he didn’t recognize the brothers’ voices during the alleged attack, even though they were friends and his personal trainers.
“In that moment, I’m not going to stop and say, ‘Hey Bola, is that you?’ It was an attack. It happened fast,” Smollett said. “They’re liars. They said I had something to do with it, and that’s not true. I’m on trial for an attack I didn’t do.”
He was also challenged over his claim that the alleged attackers were white.
“Did you say ‘white’ to get more attention?” a prosecutor asked.
“You’d have to ask someone who actually did a fake hate crime,” Smollett answered.
When police arrived at Smollett’s apartment, he was wearing a noose he claimed the attackers placed on him.
The two brothers were caught on surveillance camera buying gloves, two ski masks, a red hat and other items, which they paid for in cash.
Smollett admits he did pay the brothers $3,500, but testified it was for services to help him get in shape for a video.