Jussie Smollett trial: Closure-time round

Image copyright Illinois State Attorney Image caption The actor is accused of enlisting two friends to help him stage a racist and homophobic attack Closing arguments are set to begin on Thursday at the…

Jussie Smollett trial: Closure-time round

Image copyright Illinois State Attorney Image caption The actor is accused of enlisting two friends to help him stage a racist and homophobic attack

Closing arguments are set to begin on Thursday at the trial of actor Jussie Smollett, accused of paying two friends to stage a racist and homophobic attack on him.

Prosecutors allege Smollett paid brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo $3,500 (£2,299) for their help. The brothers later said Smollett paid them with $100 (£78) of his own money.

The actor denies any wrongdoing and claims his attack was staged.

Dozens of witnesses were called over six weeks to give evidence in Chicago.

What happened?

Mr Smollett has been accused of orchestrating a hoax after he said he was attacked near his Chicago apartment on 2 January.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Jussie Smollett denies that he faked the attack

He said he was attacked by two masked men who hurled racist and homophobic abuse at him and beat him before putting a noose around his neck.

The actor insisted he was attacked by two masked white men who shouted “this is MAGA country!” – a reference to President Donald Trump’s political slogan.

The Osundairo brothers have testified that they were paid by Smollett to help him stage the attack on 2 January, the prosecutors’ case against him has been brought.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The actor is facing a maximum of three years in prison if found guilty of the charges

They said he hired them the following day to stage the attack, but left the exact details unclear.

The brothers said Smollett made his confession to the FBI during a meeting on 8 January.

They later also said that Smollett paid them $3,500 (£2,299) – the money they received was paid in two tranches.

Jailed in California

Abel Osundairo was jailed in Los Angeles over a felony charge of making a criminal threat.

He is accused of telling Smollett that he had a video of a masked man who looked like him assaulting him. Mr Osundairo told the actor that the incident could be an Oscar-nominated film – and he gave Smollett the video with instructions for the actor to produce the same film.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Filmmaker Abdirizak Bihi was among the witnesses to testify at the trial

The video is registered to Mr Osundairo’s parents, but is not directly linked to the alleged attack.

During his bail hearing, the brothers insisted they were paid by Smollett, and police found it in his car.

The brothers then changed their stories about why they went to police, saying they were frightened after finding out Smollett had told the truth about the attack.

Twenty police officers met Smollett in New York City in late January as part of the investigation into the attack.

In addition to his convictions for threatening Mr Osundairo, Smollett also faces a charge of filing a false police report.

Leave a Comment