Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett appeared in court for the first time this week to defend himself against allegations that he fabricated an elaborate hate crime for attention. Chicago prosecutors say Smollett wasted police time and resources by sending them on a wild goose chase against his alleged attackers — resources which surely could have been better used elsewhere, given the city’s astronomical murder rate.
Early details shared during the trial don’t help Smollett’s case. Prosecutors showed the jury surveillance video of an alleged “dry run” of the orchestrated attack. The video, taken a day before the incident, shows Smollett walking around the area with the Osundairo brothers. Smollett is accused of paying the Osundairo brothers to stage the hate crime because he was frustrated by the lack of attention Empire gave to hate mail he received on set.
One of the Osundairo brothers took the stand Wednesday and testified that he procured drugs for Smollett and considered him a “brother.” The Nigerian immigrants previously told police that Smollett helped them plan the attack and warned them to pull their punches so as not to severely injure him.
Police also testified that while Smollett initially identified one of his attackers as white, he amended his wording to “pale-skinned” after the Osundairo brothers were arrested. When a police officer confronted him about his changing statements, Smollett insisted “he acted like he was white by what he said.”
Smollett’s defense team is insisting that he really was attacked by the Osundairo brothers, who were motivated by homophobia. However, police said Smollett texted one of the brothers after he was arrested, “I know 1000%. You and your brother did nothing wrong… I am making this statement so everyone else knows … Please hit me when they let you go. I am behind you fully.”
The fantastical Smollett tale was already difficult to believe on its face. Hate crime hoaxes have become a trend in recent years; black students have been busted peppering college campuses and high schools with racist messages. A case of arson at a black church originally thought to be a hate crime was later found to have been carried out by a black parishioner. Police said an eleven-year-old girl in Toronto lied to them about having her hijab cut off on the subway.
Smollett claimed that he walked to Subway for a sandwich on one of the coldest nights of the year and was attacked after leaving the establishment. He told police he was pummeled by two white men wearing MAGA hats. They supposedly recognized him as an actor from Empire, called him a gay slur and yelled, “This is MAGA country.” The men allegedly poured a chemical substance on Smollett and put a piece of rope around his neck.
Police arrived at Smollett’s apartment to find that he was still wearing the rope loosely around his neck. He refused to provide medical records, a DNA swab or his cellphone to investigators.
Even though Smollett’s story was even more absurd and elaborate than other hoaxed hate crimes, numerous celebrities and politicians immediately jumped to his defense, calling the alleged incident a “modern-day lynching.” The left is so desperate to prove America is as racist as they say it is that they will fall for an obvious fabrication.
If the prosecution is able to prove Smollett’s involvement in the hoax, he faces serious fines or imprisonment. Our country will be made healthier if hate crime hoaxers learn that they can no longer get away with sowing racial division for their own ends.
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