Actor Jussie Smollett, accused of orchestrating his own "beating" to cast himself as a sympathetic victim of racism and homophobia, is on trial in Chicago. In court he made a remarkable claim, the ultimate "if true," defense: the star witness against him is a former lover of sorts.
Last week, brothers "Bola" and "Ola" Osundairo testified that Smollett, who is Black and gay, directed and paid them to carry out a sham anti-gay and racist attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage. Their testimony, as well as that of five Chicago police investigators, formed the core of the prosecution's case against Smollett.But under oath Monday, Smollett offered testimony over five hours in which he denied orchestrating the attack and suggested the brothers — whom he knew from the "Empire" set — may have had other motivations at play. … Smollett told jurors he and Bola Osundairo snuck away from his brother after the three were at a female strip club together. Smollett testified they again got a private room and "made out a little bit, masturbated together."
The legal implication is that Smollett would have good reason to associate with that person and give them money beyond paying them to beat him up. But it obviously implies other things that would be catastrophic to the case against Smollett—if jurors believe him. The claim is also, just as obviously, consistent with Jussie lying to cloud the waters of reasonable doubt.
Smollett, 39, pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct.