jurors are expected to begin second day of deliberations on Thursday – .

jurors are expected to begin second day of deliberations on Thursday – .

The jury of six men and six women deliberated for more than two hours to end legal proceedings on Wednesday and are due to return at 9:15 am CT.

The evidence examined includes Smollett’s testimony as well as two acquaintances he knew on the set of the “Empire” television show, who said in court last week that Smollett recruited them to participate in the scheme.

The lawsuit stems from Smollett’s alleged actions near downtown Chicago in January 2019, when he told authorities two men assaulted him and tied a noose around his neck. Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was the victim of racist and homophobic slurs in the attack, including hearing: “This is MAGA country”.

Smollett testified on Monday and maintained his innocence in the ordeal, denying that he planned the attack with help from Bola and Ola Osundairo. He pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police.

Defense lawyer Nenye Uche argued in closing arguments on Wednesday that the Osundairo brothers were lying in court about Smollett and were only interested in their own fame and attention.

“They are criminals. These are the worst types of criminals, ”Uche told jurors.

Yet prosecutors say during the investigation it became clear to authorities that the reported heinous crime was in fact a hoax. In Wednesday’s plea, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb accused Smollett of lying in court and said he lacked credibility throughout the case.

“You bring your common sense and intelligence to the jury gallery,” Webb began. “Beyond the argument, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we accused him of. “

Plenty of evidence validates their case, prosecution says

Webb presented in his closing statement six key pieces of evidence to demonstrate how Smollett allegedly carried out the hoax.

The first was to deny the police cell phone evidence, medical data and DNA. “Widely redacted” cell phone tapes were produced for jurors, showing no phone calls to Bola Osundairo, although Webb pointed out that in the four to five days leading up to the alleged attack, there had been five phone calls, 40 texts and nine direct Instagram messages. .

“Mr. Smollett didn’t want the crime solved,” Webb told jurors. “He wanted to be exposed to the media but he didn’t want the brothers to be apprehended. “

Second, Webb accused Smollett of misleading the police as to the race of the assailants, saying “he wants the police to look for someone white.” The Osundairo brothers are black. Smollett testified that he was never sure the perpetrators were white but was “speculated” and “certain” that he said he had pale skin from the start.

The third piece of evidence pointed out by Webb was the “tampering with the rope” which was seen around Smollett’s neck early on the morning of the alleged attack, first on surveillance camera when the actor was first returned to his apartment and then on the body camera when the police arrived. .

It was initially “exactly as Ola told you (to the jurors) that he left it,” but then, Webb said, Smollett “went around” with the rope, to the Smollett family moans as almost all of them were shaking their heads.

Smollett had testified that he removed the rope and sweater at one point, then put them back in place so that the police could see when they arrived.

The fourth piece pointed out by Webb was that the Osundairo brothers could not have attacked Smollett without knowing it beforehand. He also criticized Smollett’s statements that he went to a store to buy food at “2 a.m. in the middle of the polar vortex in this cozy condo.”

The final elements of the prosecution’s case included medical evidence of no serious injuries, a police interview in February 2019 and a text message to Bola Osundairo.

Webb told jurors that Smollett wanted the brothers to know he was going to shut up, in the hopes that they would too, and that no one would find out.

“He hoped the Osundairo brothers would not cooperate with the police,” Webb said. “He’s been exposed, and now we’re in a lawsuit. That’s what happened. “

Defense says prosecutors did not make their case

Uche, the defense attorney, repeatedly told the jury not to believe most of the testimony given by either of the Osundairo brothers, including their apparent reason why Smollett wrote to the one of them a check for $ 3,500, which he called “a fundamental part of the prosecution case.” . Prosecutors argued throughout the trial that the check was handed over as payment for the staged fake attack.

Referring to testimony given by Smollett’s publicist Pamela Sharp earlier in the lawsuit and the $ 3,500 Smollett paid her, Uche said it was normal for celebrities to pay large sums of money for services.

“So, is Pam Sharp planning a hoax with Mr. Smollett as well?” Ridiculous! Uche told the jury.

Jussie Smollett denies staging an attack and testifies that he had sex with a prosecution witness

The lawyer said the detectives assigned to the case had not conducted a full and thorough investigation and that Smollett was telling the truth about going for food.

Uche described Smollett as someone who learned to appreciate the city of Chicago, not as someone who would commit the crime he is accused of committing.

“Going to Obama town to pretend there are Trump supporters running in MAGA hats?” Give me a break, ”Uche said.

Saying that he needed the jury to be his “constitutional warriors,” Uche urged them not to try to serve as investigators when they deliberate, but simply to consider whether the prosecution had discharged its burden. some proof. He told them not to act like “Sherlock Holmes” when they give their verdict.

Calling much of the evidence presented against Smollett during the trial as “nonsense”, Uche told the jury “You cannot convict a person, no matter how you feel, especially an innocent man, without proof”.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos and Ashley Killough reported from Chicago, Atlanta’s Travis Caldwell wrote. Eric Levenson and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.


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