Prosecution rest after brothers testify the actor ordered them to carry out a fake racist and anti-gay attack – .

Prosecution rest after brothers testify the actor ordered them to carry out a fake racist and anti-gay attack – .

Abimbola “Bola” Osundairo and his brother Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo provided critical testimony Wednesday and Thursday during the criminal trial of Smollett, accused of organizing the attack and falsely reporting it to the police.

The prosecution rested Thursday evening after three days of testimony in which it called seven witnesses, including the brothers.

Ola Osundairo told jurors that Smollett “had this crazy idea of ​​getting attacked by two MAGA supporters” and wanted to “put this on social media”.

“Mr. Smollett asked you to pretend to attack him?” Asked Deputy Special Prosecutor Sam Mendenhall.

“Yes,” replied Ola Osundairo.
“Pretending to be Trump supporters? Mendenhall continued.

“Yes,” said Ola Osundairo.

“So he could then post it on social media?” Continued the prosecutor.

“Yes,” replied Ola Osundairo.

He said Bola was in charge of hitting Smollett, while Smollett wanted Ola to put a noose around his neck and pour gasoline on him. They eventually replaced gasoline with bleach because, said Ola Osundairo, “I wasn’t comfortable pouring gasoline on someone.”

Smollett, who is black and gay, said two men punched him, shouted anti-gay and racist remarks, tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him on a freezing cold night in Chicago in January 2019. Police first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime and dedicated significant resources to resolving the case and locating the two men.

But after questioning them and finding other evidence, authorities instead determined that Smollett paid the men $ 3,500 to organize the hate crime against him so he could get publicity and a boost in his life. career.

Smollett pleaded not guilty to six counts of misconduct for allegedly making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime. His defense attorney said in his opening statements that he was a real victim and that men viewed the actor as a “brand” or a “target”.

Thursday’s session was stormy and defense lawyers called for the trial to be quashed. One of the attorneys alleged that Judge James Linn pounced on her, and another said the judge was making facial expressions.

It all started when the judge stepped in after lawyer Tamara Walker repeatedly insisted Ola Osundairo use homophobic words, for example when he called a musician friend “fruity ass”. Linn angrily asked Walker to move on from his line of “collateral” questions.

The defense suggested during the trial that homophobia may have been the motive for an actual hate crime attack that night.

In a heated exchange, Walker asked the judge for a sidebar, which he initially denied. After the defense a second time called for a meeting out of earshot of the jury, Linn sent the panel out of the room.

Walker and his defense team have asked to quash the trial.

As the exchange between the judge and the defense rapidly escalated, Walker grew emotional, at one point sobbing as she paced around a table, claiming that Linn would not allow her to continue. a series of questions essential for the defense.

Walker also claimed that Linn threw herself at her while she was in the sidebar, which Linn vehemently denied.

“When you said the word overturning the trial, and I know you are pressured here, I was amazed that you were considering an overturning the trial,” Linn said. “Ms. Walker, there were objections that needed to be argued and I was trying to get back to the point. “

“Just because you think you’ve been allowed to go one way, we’re all just doing our jobs,” Linn told Walker.

“There will be no cancellation of the trial,” he told the stunned courtroom.

Defense lawyer Heather Widell also addressed the judge, saying: “I would also like to officially state that there are facial objections from the bench when there are objections. “

“You’re good at facial expressions,” Linn replied.

The court ended Thursday evening after the defense called its own witnesses.

The defense strongly questions Bola Osundairo

The brothers gave the main testimony to the case, making it clear that the attack was still meant to be bogus.

Bola Osundairo was the first of the two brothers to testify, speaking in court on Wednesday and Thursday. He told the court that Smollett “wanted me to pretend to beat him,” and he agreed to do so because he felt indebted to the actor.

“I thought he could help further my acting career,” Osundairo said. “He told me we would need another person to pretend to beat him. He mentioned that my brother could do it. I said yes. “

The actor asked them to say “Empire, fuck, shit, MAGA,” hit him, pour bleach on him and then run away, he said.

“Who was responsible for this thing?” Webb asked.

“Jussie was,” Bola Osundairo told the jury.

The man also said that Smollett first explained the plan to him in a car where Smollett was smoking marijuana.

“Even though he smokes, do you still think he’s serious?” defense attorney Shay Allen asked.

“He looked serious,” replied Bola Osundairo.

Osundairo said Smollett “wanted to use the mock attack or the camera footage for the media”. He said that while he didn’t expect to be paid for helping Smollett organize the attack, the actor still handed him a check for $ 3,500.

In cross-examination, Allen accused Bola Osundairo of having a desire to work safely for Smollett and that this was becoming a point of growing tension. Osundairo testified that he did not remember it.

“You attacked Jussie because you wanted to scare him into hiring you,” Allen accused, to which Osundairo replied, “No.”

Trial of Jussie Smollett, accused of lying to police about alleged hate crime, opens with jury selection

However, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb asked if Smollett had ever spoken about security while this “fake attack” was brewing and Osundairo replied, “No”.

Testimonies were strained at times when Allen asked if Bola Osundairo had sex with Smollett, which he denied, and how he could not have expected the police to be involved if the Media attention to the story was increasing, as Smollett allegedly expected.

“I didn’t think so,” Bola Osundairo said.

“We finally agree on something,” Allen replied.

During examination-in-chief, Webb clarified the timing of the alleged hoax on one of Chicago’s coldest nights. “If you hadn’t had advanced discussions with Jussie Smollett, how would you know where he would be at 2 am in a polar vortex?”

“I wouldn’t,” Osundairo replied.

Ola Osundairo later testified that the brothers at one point considered leaving if the actor did not show up.

“It was very cold that night. I was frozen the whole time we were there, ”he said. “My brother saw him and that’s when we kept approaching him. “

Osundairo said that was when he put the rope over Smollett’s head and poured bleach on him, while trying not to get any bleach on him. Smollett’s face to avoid hurting the actor.

Defense witness says Smollett looked panicked

The first witness called by the defense described what he had heard as he spoke to Smollett during the meeting.

Brandon Moore, Smollett’s former music director, said he heard “something MAGA country” and then what sounded like a brawl.

“Jussie said, ‘Yo, I just blew myself up,’” Moore said in court.

Smollett looked panicked and out of breath, Moore said.

During cross-examination, Deputy Special Prosecutor Sean Wieber emphasized: “You couldn’t see how the punches landed” and “you didn’t witness what happened to Mr. Smollett. “, To which Moore replied,” That’s correct. “

The defense also called an emergency room doctor who examined Smollett after the alleged attack and Smollett’s publicist at the time, Pamela Sharp.

The prosecution said in its opening statement that Smollett orchestrated the attack for publicity and career boosting purposes. Sharp said Smollett made between $ 100,000 and $ 125,000 per episode, or about $ 2 million for a season.

The judge ended the day by telling jurors not to return until Monday, when they could hear argument and begin deliberating.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez and Bill Kirkos reported from Chicago and CNN’s Eric Levenson reported and wrote from New York. CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.


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