defense rests after prosecution contrasts its version of events with other testimony – .

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Jussie Smollett returns to the helm – .



Smollett, 39, pleaded not guilty to six counts of misconduct for filing false police reports. The charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Closing arguments are scheduled to take place on Wednesday morning, followed by jury instructions and deliberation.

Smollett, who is black and gay, defended himself on Monday and Tuesday and set out his version of the alleged attack, questioned the prosecution’s key witnesses and explained his suspicion of police. . In cross-examination, however, prosecutors compared his testimony to other evidence in the case, which they believe proves he organized the hoax attack and lied to police about it.

The trial, which began last week, is the culmination of a case that began on the frosty night of January 29, 2019, when Smollett told police two men attacked him, made anti -gays and racists poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. Celebrities, politicians and advocacy groups rallied around the actor, and police devoted significant resources to resolving the case.

But authorities soon came to believe that the actor had paid $ 3,500 to two acquaintances – the Bola brothers and Ola Osundairo – to fake a hate crime in order to gain sympathetic media coverage.
Authorities laid charges of disorderly conduct against Smollett, but Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx agreed to drop the charges weeks later. However, a special prosecutor appointed for the case then brought charges against him last year.

The prosecution last week asked for testimony from five police investigators and the Osundairo brothers, who said Smollett concocted the hoax and told them what to say and do. Bola Osundairo said he agreed with the plan because “I thought it could help further my acting career. “

Defense lawyers argued that Smollett was a real victim of a stroke and suggested the Osundairo brothers had other motivations. The defense called seven witnesses in all, evidenced by Smollett’s own testimony.

The prosecution refused to call rebuttal witnesses.

The indictment is based on Smollett’s testimony

Cross-examination of Smollett by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb began Monday afternoon and resumed Tuesday morning as he compared Smollett’s testimony with that of the Osundairo brothers.

Last week, the brothers testified that Smollett contacted them days before January 29, 2019, with the idea of ​​carrying out a bogus anti-gay and racist attack. Smollett dismissed this in cross-examination on Tuesday.

“I deny it completely. It never happened, ”he said emphatically.

During his eight-hour testimony, Smollett denied ever telling the brothers to buy a red hat to look like Trump supporters or anything in particular. He also said he never told them to repeat the alleged fake attack.

On January 27, 2019, two days before the incident, Smollett picked up the Osundairo brothers for what prosecutors described as a “spin-off” of the alleged scheme. However, Smollett told jurors he actually contacted Bola Osundairo for a training session, and Ola Osundairo got into the car as well.

Smollett said he picked up the brothers at their North Chicago residence because Uber prices were getting expensive and brought them back to his downtown apartment building with the goal of going to his gym and practice. However, footage of the vehicle shows the group driving through the Smollett neighborhood and no one ever got out.

Smollett testified that he was on the phone texting her for an interview and that Ola’s presence was “weird”, so he decided to cancel training.

“It was easier to use the interview as a reason, ‘Well now we can’t really practice so I’m going to drive you back,’” he said.

The vehicle crossed the stairs three times where the alleged attack later took place. Smollett said the stairs were “around my apartment” and he denied telling the brothers that was where he wanted an attack to take place.

Webb and Smollett engaged in a series of contentious exchanges during cross-examination, particularly when Webb read one of Smollett’s Instagram posts to Bola Osundairo on January 28, 2019.

Webb began to read aloud a message that included the word “n *** a”, as Smollett grimaced and shook his head. Then Webb moved on to another of Smollett’s messages, again starting with “n *** a”, but this time Smollett cut him off.

“Can you just say ‘the n-word’ or spell the word?” Said Smollett. “Out of respect for every African American here. “

Webb agreed and focused on the multiple flight status updates Smollett gave via Instagram messages as he delayed his return to Chicago from New York. Smollett admitted that Bola Osundairo called him at 12:49 a.m. when the actor finally landed on January 29.

Bola Osundairo said last week that this call was Osundairo asking what time the staged attack was going to take place. But under oath on Tuesday, Smollett denied that this ever happened.

Smollett said the two were initially scheduled to train at his apartment on January 28, but agreed that if he came in after 11 p.m. they would postpone their training until 9:30 a.m.

Webb asked if Osundairo had already shown up at 9:30 am the next morning.

“I don’t know,” Smollett replied.

Webb further insisted that there was no message regarding the cancellation of Smollett’s or Osundairo’s training, which Smollett pointed out because there were more “important” issues to be answered. deal at the time.

The actor told authorities he was assaulted around 2 a.m. on January 29.

Smollett put a rope around her neck so the police could see her

Chicago Police have released body camera footage of Jussie Smollett with a noose around his neck.

In his testimony on Monday, Smollett set out his version of what happened on the night of January 29, 2019.

He told the court he was walking back to the stairs of his apartment building after returning from a Subway sandwich shop when he heard two people shouting the word “Empire” and anti-gay and racist slurs. The men then moved towards him very quickly and attacked, Smollett said.

He didn’t realize until after that there was a rope tied around his neck, he testified, “because I was getting my ass screwed.”

In cross-examination, Webb questioned Smollett about the noose on his neck when the police arrived. He pulled side-by-side footage of Smollett – one with the noose as he entered his apartment building and one when the police arrived – and noted differences in the appearance of the rope.

Smollett denied tampering with the rope. He testified that he removed the noose after returning to his building. However, his manager told him not to play with the evidence, he said, so he put the rope around his neck before the police arrived.

One of the officers who testified early last week for the prosecution said he had arrived to find Smollett with a noose around his neck.

“My first reaction was to ask him if he wanted to take it off… he responded by saying that he would like to take it off but that he wanted us to see it first,” Officer Muhammad Baig said. .

Smollett says he had sex with a witness

Smollett’s testimony also described his relationship with Bola and Ola Osundairo, whom he had known from the filming of the “Empire” TV show.

Prosecutors say the brothers were paid by Smollett to organize an attack because he was disappointed with the way the show’s executives responded to a hate letter he received. The defense countered that Smollett paid the men for training and nutritional counseling.

The defense suggested at points in the trial that homophobia may have been the motive for a genuine hate crime attack on Smollett.

Jussie Smollett's trial has begun.  This is how we got here

In his testimony, Smollett said that Bola Osundairo would help him obtain drugs, including cocaine. He also said the two forged a sexual relationship. Smollett testified that they were given a private room in a Chicago bathhouse one night and “did more drugs and stuff, get fucked.”

On another occasion, Smollett told jurors that he and Bola Osundairo escaped from his brother after the three were together at a female strip club. Smollett testified that they were again given a private room and “had a bit of a fight, masturbated together”.

Smollett’s testimony contradicted that of Bola Osundairo last week, who denied ever having sex and said he “didn’t know” there was even sexual tension.

The defense struggled to progress on this point. Last week, during cross-examination of Ola Osundairo, a defense lawyer questioned him about his use of words which they say describe him as homophobic.

However, the judge told them to move on to another line of questioning. Defense attorney Tamara Walker then asked for the trial to be set aside, sobbed in court and said the judge had “rushed” on her during a side-by-side conversation. The judge denied the charge and dismissed the motion to set aside the trial, saying he was stunned by the request.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez and Bill Kirkos reported from Chicago. Steve Almasy reported and wrote from Atlanta and Eric Levenson reported and wrote from New York.

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