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Jussie Smollett Takes Stand and Testifies as Witness in His Own Defense

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Actors Jussie Smollett (L) and Terrence Howard attend the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

It’s day five of the Jussie Smollett trial and the actor/singer has taken the witness stand in his own defense against charges that he arranged a phony hate crime on himself one frigid night in January 2019, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Smollett was sworn in just after noon Monday (12-06-21). The news outlet reports that at first, the former “Empire’ actor spoke so quietly that his attorney had to ask him to speak up.

After initially speaking to jurors about his family life and his history as an entertainer, Smollett’s testimony focused on his time on “Empire,” and his relationship with Abimbola Osundairo, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses. As we reported earlier, Osundairo told jurors that Smollett recruited him to help orchestrate the phony hate-crime attack.

Smollett testified that he met Osundairo at a club during Season 4 of “Empire.” The two men then used cocaine and weed, and went to a bathhouse in Boystown together, where they did more drugs and made out.

Smollett’s testimony could signal an attempt by the defense to suggest the brothers carried out the attack for reasons other than the alleged attempt by the actor to fake it and get the attention of leaders of his television show. On the witness stand last week, Osundairo denied that he and Smollett had ever dated, and said he did not think there was sexual tension between the two men.

Smollett said Monday that the two men struck up a friendship; they would drive around smoking blunts as part of Smollett’s creative process, and as a way to relax, he said.

Prosecutors have pointed to surveillance footage of Smollett allegedly driving around town with the Osundairos as evidence that they did a “dry run” before the hoax attack.

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