Actor Jussie Smollett rests case, denies he staged racist attack

The former "Empire" actor said he was attacked in January 2019.

December 7, 2021, 8:58 PM

Nearly three years after prosecutors say Jussie Smollett staged a racist attack on himself, attorneys for the former "Empire" actor rested their defense on Tuesday in Chicago.

In January 2019, Smollett, who is Black and gay, alleged he was attacked by two men that were yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him and put a noose around his neck.

Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for the beginning of his trial on new disorderly conduct charges, Nov. 29 2021, in Chicago.
Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

Prosecutors said his story came under scrutiny when investigators began to question the details and the actor declined to fully cooperate with the investigation.

According to prosecutors, the attackers were acquaintances of Smollett and he had given them $100 to buy supplies and $3,500 to carry out the attack.

A composite image shows Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo walking to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse to testify in the trial of actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago, Dec. 2, 2021.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Last week, the two men, Abimbola and Ola Osundairo, delivered damaging testimony against the actor and said he had orchestrated the entire attack, but Smollett took the stand on Monday in his own defense.

Smollett testified that the ordeal was not a hoax and called the Osundario brothers "liars."

He also said that the brothers had tried to extort $2 million from him to "go away," but during cross-examination he later said the brothers never directly contacted him for money.

Actor Jussie Smollett departs the courtyard after day six of his trial in Chicago, Dec. 7, 2021.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Smollett, who pleaded not guilty, is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.