After days of uncertainty, Jussie Smollett took the stand in the case surrounding an alleged hate-filled attack perpetrated against him in January 2019. According to authorities, this attack was orchestrated by Smollett to drum up both press and sympathy. But throughout his testimony on Monday, Smollett asserted that he was a victim and did not organize the attack, though he knew the brothers who executed it.
"There was no hoax," Smollett said on the stand in a Chicago court Monday. The prosecution had alleged last week that Smollett had contacted the brothers and laid out the plan to the pair. The three then were caught on camera, in footage shown to the jury, in an alleged dry run ,and Smollett reportedly gave them $100 that they said was for supplies. According to them, he also gave them $3,500 to execute it all.
In his testimony, Smollett said the training was for nutritional and training advice as he hoped to slim down as some on the set of Empire had remarked about his belly. He said that text messages referencing being "on the low" and discreet meetings -- like the one caught on camera -- were about nutritional advice as some of the supplements were illegal in the U.S.
"I am a Black man in America. I do not trust the police," Smollett said of why he didn't and would never call the police -- his creative director, Frank Gatson, did. "I am also a well-known figure at that time and I am an openly gay man. I'm an actor, I want to play a boxer, I want to play a superhero, I want to blow stuff up."
"The moment I got beat I became a f--t who got his ass whooped," he said according to Page Six.
Smollett went further, saying that he met Abimbola Osundairo in 2017 at a club. The pair were working together on Empire at the time. Smollett said that they did cocaine together and then went to Steamworks, a popular bathhouse in Chicago. There, he said they made out. He said on another meeting they did more drugs and masturbated together. Osundairo previously denied that the pair had ever been sexually involved. When asked if he regretted the drug use, Smollett responded, "Of course, I'm sitting here in front of a jury, in front of my mom, having to explain it."
Elsewhere in his testimony, Smollett said that he refrained from providing information to police after he found out that they didn't believe him. He said he learned this from CNN host Don Lemon, who texted him.
Smollett is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making a false police report. He faces up to three years in prison but, if convicted, will likely be placed on probation.