Man tells court Jussie Smollett recruited him and brother to fake racist attack

1 December 2021, 22:54

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett Trial. Picture: PA

Abimbola Osundairo said Smollett asked him and his brother ‘to fake beat him up’ and instructed them on how to carry out the January 2019 hoax.

A man who worked with Jussie Smollett has told a court the actor recruited him and his brother to fake a homophobic and racist attack on him in Chicago nearly three years ago.

Abimbola Osundairo said Smollett asked him and his brother “to fake beat him up” and instructed them on how to carry out the January 2019 hoax.

Smollett planned a “dry run” and gave him a 100-dollar bill to buy supplies for the staged attack, Mr Osundairo said.

He said he and his brother agreed because Mr Osundairo, who worked as a stand-in on TV show Empire, felt indebted to Smollett for help with his acting career.

Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors say was a false police report — one count for each time he gave a report, to three different officers.

Abimbola Osundairo
Abimbola Osundairo (Charles Rex Arbogast/PA)

The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said if Smollett is convicted he would be likely to be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.

Smollett’s defence lawyer says he was a “real victim” and the brothers’ accounts are unreliable.

Mr Osundairo said that a few days before the attack, Smollett showed him some hate mail he said he received at the Empire studio.

Jurors viewed the note, which included a drawing of a person hanging by a noose, with a gun pointed at the stick figure and the letters MAGA, an apparent reference to then-president Donald Trump’s slogan Make America Great Again.

He said Smollett sent him a text message a few days later asking to meet up “on the low”, which he took to meet in private about something secret. Mr Osundairo said when they met, Smollett asked him “to beat him up” and asked if his brother could help.

“I was confused, I look puzzled,” Mr Osundairo said, and then “he explained he wanted me to fake beat him up”.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Mr Osundairo said that before the staged attack, Smollett drove the brothers to the spot where the attack would occur, and they decided the men should throw bleach on Smollett rather than the original plan to use petrol.

He also told that court that Smollett said a camera in the area would record the attack. “He wanted a camera to catch it,” Mr Osundairo said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Chicago police detective said Smollett appeared troubled when he was told that a surveillance camera did not record the alleged assault.

Kimberly Murray said she interviewed the former Empire actor on the morning of the attack and he told her he had been assaulted by two men — one white and wearing a ski mask, the other he could not see — as he was returning home after buying a sandwich.

Ms Murray also said Smollett told her he had received a threatening phone call days earlier, but he refused to hand over his phone, which the detective said could help police piece together a timeline of what happened, and he would not consent to giving medical records or a DNA swab.

She said Smollett was “upset” when she told him a surveillance camera in the area did not capture the alleged attack because it was pointed away from the scene.

Ms Murray said she explained to the actor that the cover on the pod camera makes it impossible to know which way it is pointing.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Abortion March for Life

Largest US abortion protest could be last under Roe

M&M’s packets

Mars gives M&M’s a makeover to promote inclusivity

A dose of the Pfizer vaccine is prepared

Booster shots needed against Omicron, new studies show

A soldier lights a torch from the eternal flame

Relocation of war memorial flame causes controversy in India

The town of Futaba in Japan

Former residents return to last town left deserted following Fukushima disaster

Rory Stewart has called on Europe to provide Ukraine with weapons

Europe must 'provide weapons to Ukraine' for defence against Russia, Rory Stewart warns

Matthew Wilson was found with a gunshot wound to the head.

British doctor killed after gun fired 'recklessly' by neighbour as he lay in bed in US

Antony Blinken, left, and Sergey Lavrov in Geneva

US and Russia try to lower temperature amid ‘critical moment’ in Ukraine crisis

People queue to receive a Covid vaccine in Kathmandu, Nepal

Tough restrictions imposed in Nepal amid record number of virus cases

Antony Blinken greets Sergey Lavrov

Top US and Russian diplomats hold talks on Ukraine amid ‘critical moment’

Lisala Folau in Tonga

Tonga’s ‘Aquaman’ describes swim to safety after tsunami swept him out to sea

People wearing protective masks in Tokyo

Japan widens virus restrictions as Omicron variant surges in cities

Czech folk singer Hana Horka has died, her son has confirmed.

Anti-vax Czech singer dies after deliberately contracting coronavirus

Naval exercise in the Indian Ocean

Iran, Russia and China begin joint naval exercise

Marine gear

Search on for humpback whale entangled in debris off Hawaii

Antonio Guterres

Covid, climate and conflict has worsened the world since 2017 – UN chief