Jussie Smollett testified in his trial on Monday (Dec. 6) that the 2019 assault he reported was “no hoax” and denied staging the alleged hate crime. The former “Empire” star’s testimony directly contradicts that of Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who testified last week that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the homophobic and racist attack.
“No,” Smollett replied. “There was no hoax.”
He also denied giving the two brothers an additional $100 for supplies used in the fake attack, which they claimed he did. Smollett said he was walking home in his Chicago neighborhood after buying a sandwich around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, 2019 when he heard someone yell a racist and homophobic remark.
The actor told jurors a man approached him and hit him in the head while a second man kicked him on his side.
“I would like to think I landed a punch, but I don’t know if it landed,” he said.
Smollett explained that he assumed the attackers were white because he heard them yell, “This is MAGA country.” Last week, the two brothers, who are Black; said Smollett instructed them to make the pro-Trump remark.
Smollett said he then told the person he’d been talking to on his phone that he “got jumped.” As he returned home, he said he noticed a noose around this neck. Smollett said his friend called the police on his behalf, which he wasn’t planning on doing.
While Smollett has been accused of faking the assault for publicity, he said on Monday that he hated the attention brought on by the case.
“I’ve lost my livelihood,” he said.
Smollett is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years.
Also on Monday, Smollett testified that he and Abimbola met one or two years prior to the attack and had a sexual relationship.