Jussie Smollett hired two Nigerian brothers to stage a hoax attack on him because he was angry that producers of Empire, the show he was on, did not take seriously enough a threatening letter he’d been sent days earlier, his trial has heard.
Smollett, 39, has been charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly staging the attack. He is accused of paying brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo $3,500 to attack him in the street, using bleach and a rope and calling him racist and homophobic names.
Smollett knew the brothers and had paid them, allegedly to carry out the attack. He claims he only ever gave them money for personal training and that he was duped by the pair, who his attorney described as ‘sophisticated criminals’ who pretended to befriend him only to exploit him because they ‘hate the person he is’.
On Tuesday, Chicago detective Michael Theis testified that the brothers told them in their first interview that Smollett was behind the attack and was angry that producers of Empire, a 20th Century Fox show, hadn’t done more about a letter he was sent days earlier that threatened him.
The letter had been sent to the studio where Empire was being filmed. It included pasted magazine letters calling Smollett racist and homophobic names.
Theis also testified that after the initial attack was reported to police, Smollett ‘tightened’ the rope that the brothers had put around his neck to make it more like a noose.
The jury was shown two photos of him – one taken before cops arrived at his apartment and one taken afterwards – that suggested he’d tightened the rope for effect.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jennifer Smith