Actor Jussie Smollett is again testifying on his own behalf.
Last week, two female attorneys accused Judge James Linn of “lunging” and “snarling” at them after attempting to declare a mistrial; however, Linn has denied the allegations and the trial has continued.
Yesterday, Smollett testified in his own defense, admitting that he and Abimbola Osundario did hard drugs like cocaine and weed together before heading to a bathhouse to “make out.” He denies orchestrating the hate crime against himself.
Other witnesses took the stand, including “Empire” executive producer and showrunner Brett Mahoney, who said that he increased security on set after Smollett allegedly received a threatening letter.
Also testifying was a security guard on duty on January 29, 2019, the night Smollett claimed he was attacked. Anthony Moore initially said that he saw Smollett being attacked by a white male in a ski mask, which is something that was absent from a signed statement in 2020 where he says he was mistaken about the ethnicity of the attacker because he shined a flashlight in the man’s face.
Yesterday, Moore testified that he felt “pressured and threatened by prosecutors to put something out there that I didn’t see.”
Jussie Smollett Continues To Testify In His Own Defense
Smollett took the stand again on Tuesday morning in order to defend himself from accusations. Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner tweeted updates from inside the courtroom.
Smollett, who seemed willing to answer questions about his family life and his role on “Empire” yesterday, seemed to be answering in more “clipped tones” today.
When asked if he participated in planning the hoax, he replied, “Absolutely not. That never happened.” Meiser noted that Smollett seemed “impatient” with prosecutor Dan Webb’s repeated questions about planning the hoax.
When Webb showed the jury surveillance footage of Smollett’s car circling the area where the attack occurred, Smollett quipped, “You mean the intersection directly across from my garage?” When Webb tried to get Smollett to admit that he circled the location three times, Smollett responded, “I can’t tell you how many times it was.”
Smollett accused Webb of “mispresenting” things to the jury and the two engaged in a “testy back and forth” over a series of Instagram messages, with Webb questioning if the information was made public or sent only to Bola.
Webb admitted, “Look at me. I’m old. I don’t understand Instagram. Just answer my question.”
Smollett Asks Webb To Refrain From Using The N-Word During Trial
During one point in the trial, Webb read a message out loud that contained the n-word. Smollett interrupted him to ask him to refrain from saying that word out loud “out of respect for every African American in the courtroom.”
Webb apologized, but Smollett wanted it noted that the N-word had been used “a lot” in the trial thus far.
Meiser noted that Smollett’s tone varied “180 degrees from yesterday. Smollett is on the defense, annoyed,” especially when it came to the questioning regarding the night of the attack. Webb and Smollett went back and forth on whether or not Smollett really believed Walgreens was open 24/7.
“How would I know that, Mr. Webb?” Smollett reportedly asked. “I was not frequenting Walgreens in the morning for eggs. …I’m under the impression that drug stores are 24 hours.”
When asked if there were any messages with Osundairo mentioning a workout the night of the attack, Smollett said, “No, but there’s also no messages about an attack and I’m on trial for an attack that I didn’t do.”
Webb made a motion to declare Smollett’s statement as non-responsive.
Smollett also “seemed exasperated” when Webb asked if his attackers “sounded” white. “That would be racist to say that someone acted white or sounded white,” Smollett insisted. “I never would say that they acted or sounded white.” He added that he made the “assumption” that they were white and later described his attackers as “pale.”
When Webb asked if he said his attackers were white to get more attention, Smollett responded, “You’d have to ask someone who actually did fake a hate crime.”