Jussie Smollett’s fate is now in the hands of the jury: Closing arguments end with prosecutors blasting actor as a ‘serial liar who without question orchestrated hoax race attack’
- Smollett , 39, arrived with his family at the Leighton Courthouse in Chicago on Wednesday morning
- Smollett has been charged with six counts of felony 4 disorderly conduct; experts say it’s unlikely he will be jailed because he has no prior criminal record
- In closing arguments, special prosecutor Dan Webb said there is ‘no question’ he orchestrated the attack
- He called Smollett a ‘serial liar’ and said there was also ‘no question’ the Osundairo brothers were involved
- Smollett’s attorneys told the jury they couldn’t trust the brothers, who are ‘sophisticated criminals’
- They have struggled to come up with a motive for why the brothers would lie – aside from that they’re ‘liars’
- Smollett took the stand on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to save his defense- experts called it a ‘disaster’
- He maintains he did not lie to police in his reports of the January 29, 2019, attack
- Brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo told police Smollett paid them to beat him up to boost his profile
- The jury has five white men, five white women, one black man and one Hispanic woman will deliberate
HOW JUSSIE LIED – PROSECUTOR GIVES JURY SIX POINTS TO CONSIDER
Smollett has been charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to the cops.
These are the lies the jury must consider
1 – That he was the victim of a hate crime
Jussie told Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig at around 2:45 a.m., some 45 minutes after the purported attack, that he was the victim of a hate crime by describing that he’d been attacked by two white or pale men who put a rope around his neck
2 – Telling the same cop that he was beaten
He told the same officer he was a victim of a battery, describing attackers beating and pouring bleach on him.
3 and 4 – Repeating claims 1 and 2 to a different cop, Kimberly Murray
5 – Telling Kimberly Murray that he was the victim of battery at a different time
6 – Telling a third cop he was the victim of aggravated battery
Jussie Smollett was branded a ‘serial liar’ who ‘without question’ orchestrated a hoax attack in January 29, 2019, by hiring his friend and apparent sometimes lover Abel Osundairo, and his brother Ola to beat him up in an effort to boost his career.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb tore through Smollett as he addressed the jury, telling them the actor deliberately ‘tailored’ his testimony to avoid the truth and lied to them repeatedly under oath.
He asked the jury to use ‘common sense’ when reaching a verdict and said it had been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the brothers, who Smollett knew, carried out the attack, and that he was behind it.
‘Mr Smollett didn’t want the crime solved. He wanted the exposure.
‘He doesn’t want the police to catch on to the brothers.
‘There is no question that Mr. Smollett is the person who orchestrated it. Mr. Smollett went on that witness stand and made many, many false statements to you.
‘He lied under oath to you jurors in the course of this trial,’ Webb told the jury.
In his defense, Smollett’s attorney Nenye Uche told jurors to ignore the brothers’ testimony because they are ‘sophisticated liars’ and ‘criminals’.
He said not only did Smollett have no motive to lie, he had an ‘anti motive’.
He couldn’t offer an explanation for why they lied, but said they couldn’t be trusted and claimed the whole prosecution rests on them.
He also referred to Smollett as a ‘pothead’, but said he had ‘nothing to hide’ and criticized the brothers for answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ like ‘Robocop’.
He questioned why one of the brothers, Abel, took ‘so many bathroom breaks’ during his testimony and also told the jury that they had offered to change their story for $2million before the case went to trial.
Smollett has been charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police six times – each count carries a maximum of three years behind bars but it’s unclear if he will be given any form of jail time.
Closing arguments and the rebuttal ended shortly before 2.30pm local time. The judge is now instructing the jury before allowing them to leave the court to start deliberations.
It remains to be seen which way they will fall; the charges are six counts of disorderly conduct for lying.
To find Smollett guilty, they must say he knew it was all fake from the beginning. He maintains he was attacked – by someone, whether it was the brothers or not – and that when he gave his account to the police, he was telling the truth.
The 39-year-old actor was pictured arriving on Wednesday surrounded by his family, who have supported him throughout. His mother Janet is shown, left, and sister Jurnee is shown, right
Smollett has arrived with his family every day for the trial. They say they believe him, and that he is the victim of a racist police force that didn’t want to ever believe him
Smollett holds hands with his mother Janet on his way into the courtroom on Wednesday morning
Webb, for the prosecution, said there was no doubt from the evidence that Smollett lied.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT CLOSING ARGUMENTS
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR – DAN WEBB
‘We have proven this by overwhelming evidence, that in fact in January of 2019 Mr. Smollett in fact developed this plan to do a fake hate crime
‘It’s just plain wrong for Mr. Smollett … to outright denigrate something as serious, as heinous, as a real hate crime, to denigrate it and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have such horrible historical significance in our country’
‘Mr. Smollett, when on that witness stand, took an oath he was going to tell the truth, and he made many, many false statements to you.
‘He lied under oath to you as jurors.’
‘Smollett had this theory that saying it was whites who did this makes it more real… The Osundairo brothers are not white and you know that’
‘Something else I would respectfully suggest is ridiculous…how was it he happened to be right at the intersection right at 2 a.m., when the brothers testified that’s what he told them?’
‘Either he had plans to be there with the brothers or he likes eggs’
SMOLLETT’S DEFENSE – NENYE UCHE
Smollett’s attorney Nenye Uche
‘I told you before there was an elephant in this court room. That elephant is assumptions’
‘The foundation of the prosecution case rests on two brothers who are sophisticated liars and criminals. They are really good, highly intelligent, really smart. And they are criminals. They are the worst type of criminals.’
‘When I say they are the worst criminals.. education is a privilege. They want to use the education for something else. They are certified liars.’
‘Ola was on the witness stand he said “I don’t” recall so many times…
‘Abel takes so many bathroom breaks. What’s he doing in the bathroom?’
‘They have a brotherly culture of lying, a brotherly language of lying’
‘The entire pros case is built like a house of cards and we all know what happens to a house of cards when you apply a little pressure. It falls.’
‘Is this a thing where Ola has hatred towards Jussie because he’s gay and Bola, the younger brother, is trying to prove to his older brother “I’m not gay so I’m going to (attack Smollett)?” I don’t know.’
‘Was Bola pretending to be gay, masturbating with Jussie in a bathhouse? ‘I really don’t know.’
‘”He’s a pothead, I’m sorry, he’s no longer one … (it was) the pressures of being an entertainer. That’s just the way it is, it sucks.’
‘He knew there was a substantial amount of evidence that showed he did exactly what the brothers said he did. And he knew there was surveillance and GPS evidence,’ he said, adding Smollett deliberately labeled his attackers as white because he knew it would make it a more convincing hate crime.
‘If I say it was whites, that makes it more real. It gives it more credibility (that it was a hate attack). I don’t think there can be any doubt in anyone’s mind who sat through this evidence that is was the Osundairo brothers, who are Black, who attacked him.’
Finishing his closing arguments, Webb told the jury: ‘When you decide this case as a jury you are allowed to use your common sense and intelligence.’
Webb called it ‘ridiculous’ to suggest that the brothers, who were identified through evidence as being those on the street of the night of the attack, were there for any other reason.
He also laughed off Smollett’s claims that he was out on the streets looking for eggs.
‘Either he had plans to be there with the brothers or he likes eggs,’ he said.
Webb also referred to a text Smollett sent Abel after his February 14 arrest, where Smollett said he ‘1000% supported him and knew he’d done nothing wrong.’
He said it was a deliberate attempt to manipulate him.
‘He wants the brothers to think “we can keep our mouths shut, Mr. Smollett is going to keep his mouth shut, and no one will ever know what happened,’ he said.
Webb also tore apart Smollett’s claim that on January 27, when he was filmed driving with the brothers, that they were going to workout.
‘That was a bunch of hooey,’ he said.
He called Smollett’s alleged lies ‘heinous’ and said it was ‘downright wrong’ to do what he is charged with. Smollett’s attorneys will give their closing arguments later and the judge has set no limit on how long each side has.
Smollett’s attorney admitted that he does not know why the brothers would have lied.
He hazarded some guesses, but told the jury the motive was irrelevant to Smollett.
‘Is it a thing where Ola has hatred towards Jussie because he’s gay and Bola, the younger brother, is trying to prove to his older brother “I’m not gay so I’m going to (attack Smollett)?” I don’t know.’
He then suggested Bola was only ‘pretending to be gay, masturbating with Jussie in a bathhouse’ but then said: ‘I really don’t know.’
The 39-year-old actor was pictured arriving on Wednesday surrounded by his family, who have supported him throughout.
He maintains his innocence and has offered different defenses throughout the trial; first, his attorneys said he was attacked by brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo because they ‘hated’ who he was and are homophobic.
Then they suggested that the pair wanted to scare him into thinking that he needed security, and that he’d hire them as his bodyguards.
The brothers say Smollett paid them $3500 to carry out the attack so that he’d get more attention, and that he never intended for the case to be reported to police much less become a national scandal.
The jury of five white men, five white women, one Hispanic woman and one black man will have to consider six counts of felony disorderly conduct.
All are class four felonies, the least serious, and carry a maximum sentence of three years behind bars each, but attorneys say they don’t think it’s likely Smollett – who has no criminal record – will spend ‘a day in jail.’
On Tuesday, he became agitated with special prosecutor Dan Webb for repeating the N word aloud while reading private Instagram messages that Smollett had sent Abel Osundairo while flying from New York City to Chicago in the hours before the attack.
Smollett was trying to manipulate the brothers with this text on February 14, sent to Abel after he was arrested, according to the prosecutor who said it was a warning to ‘keep your mouth shut’
He asked Webb not to use the word for the sake of ‘every African American’ in the courtroom. When Webb apologized, Smollett snapped: ‘Apology accepted but it’s been used a lot.’
He refused to acknowledge that it was Abel and Ola who attacked him on January 29, 2019, saying he doesn’t believe a word they say because they are ‘liars’, but he also admitted changing his description of his attackers from ‘white’ to ‘pale’ early on in the investigation because he thought it was ‘the responsible thing to do.’
Smollett repeatedly denied staging the attack and snarked at Webb during one line of questioning: ‘I don’t know. You’d have to ask someone who staged a hate crime.’
Smollett also claimed that in the days before the stunt, when prosecutors claimed he and the brothers were rehearsing the attack, they were actually getting together to smoke marijuana.
Abel is shown outside court after testifying against Smollett last week. Olabinjo Osundairo, who goes by Ola, was not as close to the star. They told DailyMail.com at the trial that they weren’t there out of malice or to seal his fate, but to tell the truth
A court sketch of Abimbola Osundairo, aka Abel Osundairo, the brother Jussie partied with, shows him testifying against Smollett last week
A court sketch of Jussie Smollett squaring off with prosecutor Dan Webb in court in Chicago on Tuesday as he took the stand for a second day
He maintains that he did think the pair were light skinned when they attacked him and that he couldn’t see them both properly.
He told the jury that he thinks they staged the attack on him to try to scare him into thinking he needed bodyguards, and to give them the job.
The brothers, who testified last week, told the jury Smollett hired them to fake the attack because he wanted to boost his celebrity profile.
On Tuesday, the actor insisted this was never the case and that he ‘hates’ attention.
He said on Monday that he would never have involved the police because he doesn’t trust them.
‘One, I am a Black man in America I do not trust police… I am also a well known figure and I’m openly gay.
‘I want to play a boxer, I want to play a superhero… the moment I got beat I become a f****t who got his ass whooped,’ he told the court on Monday when asked why he didn’t call the cops.
TIMELINE OF JUSSIE SMOLLETT HOAX ATTACK SCANDAL
Jan. 22, 2019
Smollett receives a racist and homophobic threatening letter at the studio in Chicago where “Empire” is filmed. Police later say they believe Smollett sent the letter himself.
The brothers said Smollett also sent himself this letter to the Fox studio where Empire is filmed a week before the attack. If he did, he faces another 5-10 years in prison on a federal mail fraud charge
Police say Smollett cut his own cheek to make it look like he had suffered injuries in the attack
Jan. 29, 2019
Jussie Smollett tells police he was attacked by two men in downtown Chicago at 2 a.m.
The actor says the men used racist and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown substance” on him.
Police say Smollett, who is Black and gay, told detectives the attackers also yelled he was in “MAGA country’
Jan. 30, 2019
Chicago police say they’ve reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none shows the attack. Police obtain and release images of two people they want to question, calling them ‘persons of interest’
Feb. 1, 2019
Smollett issues a statement saying he’s OK, that he’s working with authorities and has been ‘100 percent factual and consistent on every level.’
Feb. 2, 2019
Smollett opens a concert in West Hollywood, California, with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win
Police released this image of ‘persons of interest’ taken near the reported attack
Feb. 13, 2019
Chicago police pick up two Nigerian brothers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after police learn at least one worked on Empire
Police question them and search their apartment
Jussie Smollett on Good Morning America on February 14, 2019
February 20, 2019
Smollett is charged
Feb. 21, 2019
Chicago police say Smollett surrenders to face a felony charge of disorderly conduct, punishable by up to three years in prison.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity. Investigators say they have a $3,500 check that Smollett used to pay the two brothers to help him.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson tore through Smollett at a press conference on Thursday where he labeled him ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’
Jussie Smollett is shown in his mugshot in February 2019
Feb. 22, 2019
Empire producers say Smollett’s character to be removed from the final two episodes of the season.
March 7, 2019
A Cook County grand jury returns a 16-count indictment charging Smollett with falsely reporting an offense
March 26, 2019
Smollett’s attorneys say charges alleging he lied to police have been dropped.
March 28, 2019
A city official says Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the cost of the investigation into his reported beating, which police say was staged.
Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian claims on TV that the attackers could have been wearing ‘white face’ and that’s what made him describe them as light-skinned
April 11, 2019
The city of Chicago files a lawsuit seeking to recoup the investigation costs.
Jussie Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian suggested on Thursday that the reason he told police his Nigerian attackers were white was because they ‘might have been wearing white face’ and had disguised themselves. Her evidence of the theory is 2016 video of Abel Osundairo (right) dressed up as the Joker
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case
April 23, 2019
The brothers who said they helped Smollett stage the attack file a defamation lawsuit against the actor’s attorneys.
Aug. 23, 2019
Judge names former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as special prosecutor to investigate why charges against Smollett were dropped.
Feb. 11, 2020
Webb says grand jury returns six-count indictment against Smollett, accusing him of lying to police.
Feb. 24, 2020
Smollett pleads not guilty to restored charges.
Oct. 15, 2021
Judge James Linn denies a last-ditch effort to dismiss the criminal case against Smollett and sets his trial for Nov. 29.
November 29, 2021: Jury selection begins
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