Jussie Smollet testified under oath for over five hours Monday in his criminal trial, where he denied staging a hate crime in January 2019 and testified that he had a sexual relationship with the brother of one of the men involved in the alleged attack.
Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the former Empire acting reporting a brutal assault in downtown Chicago on January 20, 2019. He said two individuals “yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him up, poured a chemical on him, and left him with a rope wrapped around his neck,” NPR reports.
Two persons of interested were apprehended in February, identified as Abel and Ola Osundairo. That month, the state’s attorney’s office approved charging Smollett with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report
A prosecutor said at the time that “[a]s more evidence — such as text messages, phone records, social media records, bank records, surveillance video and the receipt from the purchase of the rope — was obtained by investigators, this investigation shifted from a hate crime to disorderly conduct.”
The evidence suggested Smollett hired the two men to stage the attack.
The trial for those disorderly conduct charges began on November 29 with jury selection. During the trial, prosecutor Dan Webb also said Smollett had practiced a “dress rehearsal” of the attack with Ablel and Ola Osundairo before the incident.