Jussie Smollett took the stand for the second day in a row at his trial on Tuesday.
The former “Empire” actor denied under oath all allegations that he brought the Osundairo brothers on a “dry run” of his attack two days prior to it taking place. The two siblings previously testified that he paid them to help him orchestrate the attack in downtown Chicago in January of 2019.
Smollett sat in the witness stand where he faced tense, continued cross-examination from Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, who began questioning him as a witness the previous day. In the first part of the day, Webb forced Smollett to deny that he picked up Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo in his car and drove them around the area where he wanted the attack to take place.
The prosecution previously stated that this is where Smollett then instructed them on what to buy, what to say and cut them a check for $3,500 as payment for the deed. However, Smollett, as he has done the entire trial, denied that he pre-planned the incident with the brothers. He claims that they were merely driving around town smoking marijuana for fun after canceling plans to work out that day.
Actor Jussie Smollett walks with family members as they arrive on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for jury selection at his trial in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Although surveillance video reportedly shows Smollett driving the brothers around the area three times that day, the actor noted that the area is right across the street from the garage to his apartment building. He also noted that, during the time he was supposed to be planning the attack with the brothers, he was texting about a potential interview with MSNBC.
Jussie Smollett continued to maintain his innocence while testifying at his trial Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson)
Webb also showed private Instagram messages between Bola Osundairo and Smollett in which the latter kept updating Bola on his whereabouts and flight delay information on the night of the attack, making the case that he was working with him to time out the planned attack. The duo had a contentious moment when Webb began reading the messages out loud. Some of the messages included the use of the N-word, prompting Smollett to interrupt the prosecutor to ask him to spell or abbreviate the word so as not to offend “every African American in this room.”
Webb said that Smollett was welcome to read his own messages to the court but that he would not censor the quotations of the actor’s messages. Smollett complied and the two moved on.
Brothers Olabinjo Osundairo, right, and Abimbola Osundairo, appear outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)
From there, Webb concluded his cross-examination of Smollett by discussing the night of the alleged attack. He called Bola Osundairo’s testimony that he was told to attack Smollett at 2 a.m. that night a “bold faced lie.” Instead, Smollett alleges that he went out that night to buy eggs at a Walgreens that he thought was open 24/7. When he realized it wasn’t, he stopped to get a Subway sandwich. On his way home, he was attacked by two people who he claims he could not identify.
He previously testified that he assumed the two men were White based on their use of the N-word as well as the phrase “MAGA,” a reference to former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. He denied telling the police that he was sure the attackers were White, saying he used the term “pale-skinned” in an effort not to make assumptions or be racist.