There are new updates in the trial against former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Last week, attorney Tamara Walker accused the judge of “snarling” and “lunging” at her after she attempted to declare a mistrial. Attorney Heather Widell supported these claims, but they were denied by Judge James Linn.
On Monday, December 6, Smollett took the stand in his own defense on charges that claim that he staged a hate crime against himself in order to create a fabricated police report.
His attorneys argued that Smollett was really attacked, while prosecutors suggested that Smollett, who is gay and black, was using the attention caused by the attack to further his career.
Jussie Smollett Takes The Stand: Talks Family Life, ‘Empire’ Start
Smollett began his testimony by recounting his family life and explaining how he first became involved in the entertainment business. From there, he spoke about his time on “Empire” and his relationship with key witness Abimbola Osundairo, who claims that Smollett paid him $3,500 dollars to stage the hate crime.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Smollett said that he met Osundairo at a club while filming season 4 of “Empire.” The two reportedly used cocaine and weed before heading to a bathhouse to do more drugs and “make out.”
In Smollett’s words, he admitted that there “was some touching.”
Last week, Osundario denied that the two had dated and dismissed the notion of sexual tension between them.
Smollett said that they were friends and would often drive around together while smoking blunts as part of Smollett’s “creative process.” The prosecution has submitted surveillance footage of these rides as part of the evidence that the two were scouting locations for the attack.
More Witnesses Paint A Fuller Picture Of What Happened
The first witness on Monday morning was a security guard by the name of Anthony Moore, who was working the night of January 29, 2019, when Smollett claimed he was attacked.
Moore testified that he saw a white man in a ski mask coming towards him along with a second person, and a third person on all fours “like he was looking for something.”
However, this goes against a signed statement by Moore that took place in January 2020, where it does not say that he saw a white man. The signed statement says that Moore was mistaken by a flashlight he shined in the man’s face.
In Monday’s testimony, Moore testified that he felt “pressured and threatened by prosecutors to put something out there that I didn’t see.”
Also testifying in Smollett’s defense was “Empire” executive producer and showrunner Brett Mahoney, who explained the circumstances surrounding a threatening letter that Smollett received.
Mahoney said that he increased security on set after Smollett received the letter, and testified that Smollett “didn’t want a lot of attention around the letter” which pokes holes in the prosecutor’s claims that Smollett was looking to draw attention to himself by orchestrating the attack.
A music manager, a publicist, and a doctor have also testified for Smollett. According to recent reports, it is possible that the jury might begin their deliberations as early as Monday evening.