At the start of his testimony, Mr. Smollett presented himself to the jury with a long biographical summary of his career as someone who grew up in a family of middle-class artists, got work as a child. actor, got deeply involved in charitable organizations. and returned to the theater, landing the lead role in “Empire”.
In January 2019, when the attack was reported, public sympathy for Mr. Smollett was immediate and widespread. But as the police investigation into the report got bogged down, suspicions grew about Mr Smollett’s account, although the actor supported it.
“I feel like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the skeptics would have supported me a lot more,” said Mr. Smollett to ABC’s Robin Roberts in February of that year. ” Much more. “
A few days after this television interview, Mr. Smollett was arrested for organizing the assault.
The Osundairo brothers told police Mr Smollett orchestrated everything, giving them a $ 100 bill to purchase supplies for the attack, including ski masks, rope and a red hat meant to indicate that the attackers were supporters of former President Donald. J. Trump.
“He wanted me to fight and throw him to the ground and bruise him while my brother Ola poured bleach on him and put a rope around him and then we would run away,” said Abimbola Osundairo.