CHICAGO (AP) – On Thursday, the second of the two brothers testified that Jussie Smollett plotted and paid for the racist and gay attack on himself by giving them shouting lines and pointing to the surveillance camera of the former Empire actor. said he would video the prank.
Smollett’s lawyer worked to discredit the brothers’ accounts, suggesting that they attacked Smollett because they did not like him, and tried to get him to pay them every million dollars so as not to testify that he orchestrated the attack.
Defense attorney Shay Allen suggested that the brothers were interested in accusing Smollett of staging the prank because they didn’t like the performer – gay and Black – and then saw an opportunity to make money.
Olabino Osendaro’s testimony at Smollett’s trial in Chicago on Thursday echoed a story his brother Abimbola Osendaro had given as a witness the day before, including that Smollett wanted his brothers to douse him with gasoline and put a noose around his neck. and what Smollett gave. They paid a $ 100 bill to buy materials and paid them with a check for $ 3,500.
Olabino Osendaro said that Smollett told him that he received hate letters at a television studio in Chicago, “and he had this crazy idea that he would be attacked by two MAGA supporters,” which is an obvious reference to then-President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again. ” Osendairo believed the plan was to publicize the attack on social media rather than involve the police, he said.
Osendairo said they decided to spray Smollett with bleach because he was uncomfortable using gasoline. He said that Smollett wanted his brother to punch and that it should look like he was fighting back.
Osendaro also appealed to the defense claiming that the brothers were motivated by homophobia. He testified that he had nothing against gays, and the jury was shown a photograph of siblings who took part in a gay pride parade in Chicago in 2015, dressed as Trojan soldiers.
Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of criminal hooliganism for what prosecutors say was a false police report of an alleged January 29, 2019 attack (one count per report) to three different officers. Felony class 4 carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts said that if Smollett was found guilty, he would likely be put on probation and ordered to do community service.
Olabino Osendaro also denied that a white man was ever involved, or that he and his brother even wore masks or makeup to give the impression that they were white. In statements that were widely ridiculed because the brothers are black, Smollett said he had previously seen pale or white skin around the eyes of one of the masked attackers.
Tensions between the defense and Judge James Lynn escalated briefly after defense attorney Tamara Walker demanded a flawed trial on the grounds that the judge had barred certain lines of questioning. Another lawyer complained that Lynn made faces whenever the defense had objections. Lynn immediately denied the mishandling motion.
During cross-examination earlier Thursday, Allen asked Abimbola Osendaro, who worked as a stunt double on the Chicago TV series Empire, if he was trying to get Smollett’s security job for $ 5,000 a week and if he had been questioned by the police. and released, he told Smollett that he and his brother would not testify in court if they were paid $ 1 million each. Osendaro replied “No sir” to both.
During subsequent interrogation by prosecutor Dan Webb, Osendairo said he never thought Smollett would go to the police to report the fake assault as a real hate crime. He said that Smollett told him he wanted to use him to get media attention and that he never lied to the Chicago police.
Olabino Osendaro told the jury that he spoke to the police without promising immunity or any good deal. He added, “It was just to find out the truth about what happened that night.”
Smollett’s lawyers need to question the brothers’ ill-testimony, but it’s not easy. Abimbola Osendaro stuck to his story during cross-examination, while denying that he had a sexual relationship with Smollett or that he had asked the actor to hire him. And much of what Osendairos told the jury about that night appears to be corroborated by video and other evidence.
Smollett’s lawyers asked Olabino Osendaro about his previous conviction for a felony, which he revealed on Thursday 2012 was for aggravated battery. As a convicted criminal, he cannot legally own a firearm, but police found several weapons when they ransacked their home following the alleged attack. Both brothers agreed that the weapon belonged to Abimbola Osendairo.
The defense said the brothers lied that Smollett orchestrated the attack to get away with the possession of firearms and heroin, which were also found in the house.
Abimbola Osendaro, an aspiring actor, said that he and his brother agreed to their roles in the fake assault because he felt indebted to Smollett for helping him in his acting career.
Associated Press author Michael Tarm contributed to this report.