Jussie Smollett's legal team will get its chance on Thursday to poke holes in the credibility of Abimbola Osundairo, one of two Nigerian brothers who claimed the Empire actor paid them to stage a phony hate crime.
Osundairo testified Wednesday in a Chicago courtroom that Smollett gave him and his brother instructions and money in advance of the Jan. 29, 2019, hoax. He also testified that Smollett planned a "dry run" of the attack and gave him $100 to buy supplies.
Osundairo, the state's star witness, told jurors that Smollett, who is black and gay, instructed him to punch the actor, but "not too hard."
Once Smollett was on the ground, Smollett told Osundairo to give him a "bruise" and a "noogie," which involved rubbing his knuckles hard on Smollett's head.
POLICE DETECTIVE TESTIFIES JUSSIE SMOLLETT HELD 'DRY RUN' OF HATE CRIME HOAX
Osundairo told jurors he and his brother felt they needed to go along with the plan because Smollett had helped them get stand-in roles on the then-popular Fox series.
He also admitted that when he and his brother spotted Smollett on the street, he shouted a homophobic slur while his brother yelled, "This is MAGA country."
After punching Smollett in the face and throwing him on the ground, the brothers put a noose around his neck and threw bleach on him before running away, Osundairo testified.
Smollett's manager called the police, and officers rushed to his apartment to find Smollett with the rope still tied around his neck.
"I just wanted y'all to see it," he told them.
The next morning, as news of the alleged hate crime broke, Osundairo told jurors he texted Smollett a condolence note, something Smollett had instructed him to do.
"Bruh, say it ain't true. I'm praying for your speedy recovery," the text read.
The Chicago beat down garnered international headlines and put intense pressure on the Chicago Police Department to find the culprits. But Smollett's story soon began to unravel.
JURY SELECTION BEGINS IN CRIMINAL TRIAL OF JUSSIE SMOLLETT, THE ACTOR ACCUSED OF STAGING HATE CRIME ON HIMSELF
The two siblings eventually came forward and said Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, though Smollett has denied it.
Instead, Smollett's defense team claims he is the "real victim" and that the brothers' accounts should not be believed. During opening arguments, his attorneys said the Osundairos pinned the crime on Smollett so they wouldn't get into trouble with authorities.
Cook County prosecutors initially charged Smollett with disorderly conduct, but then they abruptly dropped the case a month later with little to no explanation.
After intense public outcry, a judge appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Smollett matter. Attorney Dan Webb and his team convened a special grand jury that brought up Smollett on six felony disorderly conduct charges for making what prosecutors say was a false police report, with one count for each time he gave a report, to three different officers. The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said that if Smollett is found guilty, he will likely get probation and be ordered to perform community service.
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On Wednesday, Chicago detective Kimberly Murray, who interviewed Smollett after the attack, said the actor told her he had received a threatening phone call a few days prior to the incident. When Murray asked for his phone so authorities could piece together a timeline, Smollett refused. He also refused to show his medical records to authorities and would not consent to a DNA swab.