Smollett was given the opportunity to tell his side of the story after damaging convincing testimony from the Osundairo brothers last week. They claimed Smollett, hatched the scheme in order to get notoriety. According to the brothers, they were paid $100 for supplies and that Smollet had instructed them to put a noose around his neck and yell homophobic slurs. They also said Smollett gave them a $3,500 check to pull off the scam.
After several hours of testimony, Smollett said he wrote the $3,500 check to Abimbola Osundairo for advice about training and nutrition.
When asked by his attorney, Nenye Uche, if he paid Osundairo to orchestrate a hoax, Smollett replied: “Never.”
Uche asked again if he planned a hoax.
“No,” Smollett said, “there was no hoax.”
Smollett said “absolutely not” when asked if he gave $100 to the Osundairo to pay for supplies to stage the attack.
Smollett explained to the jury that after he returned from a trip and was walking home on the evening of January 29, 2019, he heard someone yell a homophobic, racist slur in his direction. When he turned around to confront the person, he said the assailant towered over him.
Demonstrating the events as he recalled them, Smollett said the man approached him and then pointed to his left temple to show where he said the man struck him.
“I would like to think I landed a punch. But I don’t know if it landed,” Smollett said, claiming that he fell as he tussled with his attackers on the ground for almost 30 seconds.
Smollett also testified that he believed that his attacker was white because he used a racial slur and shouted “MAGA country.” Last week, the Osundairo brothers testified that Smollett told them to yell “this is MAGA country” during the staged assault.
After telling the person he was speaking to on the phone that he “got jumped,” he noticed a noose around his neck while walking back to his apartment.
Smollett said that he was upset at his friend for calling the police saying he would never have done so.
“I am a Black man in America. I do not trust the police,” Smollett said. “I am also a well-known figure at that time and I am an openly gay man.”
When the news broke, Smollett said he hated the attention that he received after the incident.
“I’ve lost my livelihood,” he added.
When Smollett was cross-examined by special prosecutor Dan Webb, he stated that he had refused to give Chicago police his cellphone for their investigation because he wanted to maintain his privacy. Also, Smollett testified that he did drugs and engaged in consensual sex acts in a bathhouse with Abimbola Osundairo. Osundairo testified last week that he and Smollett never had a sexual relationship.
Smollett is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors say was a false police report about the alleged attack—one count for each time he gave a report—to three different officers.
If convicted of the charges, Smollett faces a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have suggested that if Smollett is convicted he would more than likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.