Smollett’s attorney Nenye Uche rejected accusations that Smollett had masterminded a fake racist attack against himself in January 2019, claiming the actor was innocent and “a real victim” as the trial kicked off in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday.
Uche argued that Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo – two Nigerian brothers who told Chicago Police they had been paid by Smollett to attack him – had actually hated Smollett “because of who he is as a person” and were “sophisticated, highly intelligent criminals.”
“Jussie was not a person who liked attention. Even his publicist was frustrated at him for that… It’s fantasy,” the attorney said.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb, however, argued that the evidence suggests Smollett did stage a fake hate crime against himself and had even moved a rope “closer to his throat” in an effort to “make it look more like a lynching.”
Webb alleged that Smollett was upset with producers behind the show ‘Empire’ for not taking an anonymous, threatening letter sent to him seriously and so staged the fake attack using the two brothers, who he had previously met on set.
Smollett allegedly told the brothers to wear red hats and to shout racial slurs and slogans in support of then-President Donald Trump in an apparent attempt to make it look like the incident was a racist attack by Trump supporters.
Chicago Police reportedly spent 3,000 man hours investigating the alleged hate crime and Smollett is charged with disorderly conduct – a felony charge that could lead to the actor’s imprisonment for up to three years.
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