Jussie Smollett testifies in his own trial: Live updates – CNN

jussie-smollett-testifies-in-his-own-trial:-live-updates-–-cnn

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1 min ago

Jussie Smollett testifies he couldn’t trust Osundairo brother and tells jurors he "kind of creeped me out"

From CNN's Omar Jimenez in Chicago

The sixth witness called by the defense was Jussie Smollett, to testify in his own defense. 

He faces six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019. The former "Empire" actor has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly denied making up or orchestrating the attack.

His testimony early Monday afternoon focused on his relationship with the Osundairo brothers, including “Ola,” whom Smollett testified was someone he wasn’t friends with.

When asked by defense attorney Nenye Uche whether he could trust “Ola,” Smollett responded, “I knew, I couldn’t.” 

“He kind of creeped me out,” Smollett told jurors. “Every time we were around him he didn’t speak to me. Every time we needed to leave, he made it seem like we needed to sneak off.”

But Smollett testified he did not necessarily see it as an issue. “He wasn’t feeling me, it’s fine. Who is he to me? It’s fine.”

“Bola” Osundairo, however, was someone Smollett viewed as a friend, whom he called “Bon.”

Smollett not only testified that “Bon” would help him get drugs, including cocaine, but also that a sexual relationship began to forge between the two at a particular Chicago bath house.

One night the two were out, and Smollett testified they got a private room and “did more drugs and like, made out.”

On a separate occasion, Smollett told jurors he and “Bon” snuck away from “Ola” 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.”

“Bola” Osundairo denied this during his testimony earlier in the trial and said he “didn’t know” there was even any sexual tension.

Separately, Smollett told jurors about frequently smoking and driving as a way to write music and as a substitute for not being approached by fans on the street.

“You couldn’t just walk down the street,” he testified as he mentioned these trips would also include drives around his own neighborhood smoking a blunt.

Smollett would do these drives by himself, but has also had others in the car while doing so, including “Bon” at a frequency of “too many to count.”

Testimony is ongoing and will continue with direct questioning after the court’s lunch break around 3 p.m. ET.

46 min ago

What Smollett has previously said about the alleged 2019 attack

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images)
(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images)

Jussie Smollett, who is accused of lying to police about an alleged hate crime, has been called to the stand to testify in his own defense.

The former "Empire" actor is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police. He has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself in 2019, when he told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

About the reported attack: Smollett told authorities he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2019 by two men who were yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said the two men put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him, according to Chicago police.

Celebrities, politicians and advocacy groups rallied behind the actor, with former President Trump calling the alleged attack "horrible." In his first public statement since the reported attack, Smollett thanked his fans for the support and attempted to dispel doubts questioning the integrity of his story, saying he had "been 100% factual and consistent on every level."

Police began an investigation, taking Smollett's sweater and rope and eventually obtaining video showing the actor entering a Lowe's store after the alleged attack with what appeared to be a noose around his neck.

A day after the alleged attack, police said they found surveillance footage showing "potential persons of interest wanted for questioning."

You can read more about the timeline of the case here.

1 hr 32 min ago

Jussie Smollett takes the stand in his own trial

Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Monday, December 6.
Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Monday, December 6. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Jussie Smollett, who is accused of lying to police about an alleged hate crime, has taken the stand in his own defense at his trial today.

The former "Empire" actor is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police.

Smollett has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself in 2019, when he told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

1 hr 46 min ago

The Jussie Smollett trial kicked off last week. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Jason Hanna, Omar Jimenez and Bill Kirkos

The long road in the Jussie Smollett case finally reached trial last week in Chicago, more than two years after police first alleged the actor lied about being the victim of a hate crime and wrongfully diverted weeks of investigative manpower.

The former "Empire" actor, who is Black and gay, has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself, insisting two men struck him, yelled anti-gay and racist remarks, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him on a cold January 2019 night in the Windy City.

Authorities have argued evidence, including texts and accounts from two Smollett acquaintances, point to Smollett paying the pair to rough him up, so he could attract publicity and a career boost – a narrative Smollett has denied.

A 12-person jury was selected in just over six hours last Monday for the trial, in which Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police. He has pleaded not guilty.

Opening statements began after the jury was seated, with prosecutors telling jurors the actor was an accomplice to his own "fake hate crime," while defense attorneys claimed Smollett was a "victim."

Special Prosecutor Daniel Webb claimed in opening statements that Smollett devised a "secret plan" in January 2019 with brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to make it appear a hate crime occurred against him by supporters of Donald Trump and to make producers of his former TV show take more seriously an alleged "hate" letter he received.

Defense counsel Nenye Uche opened directly to the jury, saying there was an "elephant" in the courtroom, and "we shall name this elephant: assumptions."

"Jussie Smollett is a victim — it's a shame I have to say it," said Uche. "This rush to judgment has destroyed Jussie's life."

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