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Jussie Smollett testifies in his own defense in alleged fake hate crime case


On Monday, the fifth day in his trial for allegedly staging a 2019 hate crime against himself, former Empire star Jussie Smollett testified in his own defense. 

According to Page Six, the actor said under oath that he was sexually involved with one of the Nigerian brothers who told cops Jussie paid them to pose as white supporters of President Trump and rough him up, and put a noose around his neck. 

Last week, Abimbola Osundairo denied the pair had a sexual relationship, but he did admit in court that he and Smollett visited Steamworks bathhouse in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood together. 

Smollett testified Monday that he and Osundairo did drugs together and engaged in sexual activity at the location. 

While prosecutors claim Smollett paid Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to “fake beat him up” to raise his profile on Empire, the defense is now claiming the attack was real, because the bodybuilding brothers were homophobic. 

Smollett has yet to be cross-examined.

Smollett was indicted for a second time in February of last year on six counts, including lying to investigators about the case. Prosecutors maintain he’d hired the brothers to stage the incident, and furnished as evidence the check the actor claimed was for “personal training.”

 Dan Webb, the special prosecutor tapped to investigate the case after the charges were initially dropped, said in February of 2020 that the actor made “numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime he, in fact, knew had not occurred.”

An allegedly threatening letter to Smollett, which contained a white powder later found to be a pain reliever, is the center of a separate federal investigation. At the time, former Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed the letter was also phony.

 Scott Olson/Getty Images

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