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Jussie Smollett testifies he had a sexual relationship with the prosecution's star witness

Last week, brothers “Bola” and “Ola” Osundairo testified that Smollett, who is Black and gay, directed and paid them to carry out a sham anti-gay and racist attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage. Their testimony, as well as that of five Chicago police investigators, formed the core of the prosecution’s case against Smollett.
But under oath Monday, Smollett offered testimony that suggested the brothers may have had other motivations at play.
He said Bola Osundairo, who he called “Bon,” helped him get drugs, including cocaine. He also said a sexual relationship began to forge between the two at a particular Chicago bath house. One night the two were out, and Smollett testified they got a private room and “did more drugs and like, made out.”
On a separate occasion, Smollett told jurors he and Bola Osundairo snuck away from his brother after the three were at a female strip club together. Smollett testified they again got a private room and “made out a little bit, masturbated together.”
Prosecution rests after brothers testify Jussie Smollett directed them to carry out a fake racist and anti-gay attackProsecution rests after brothers testify Jussie Smollett directed them to carry out a fake racist and anti-gay attack
In testimony last week, Bola Osundairo denied they had a sexual relationship and said he “didn’t know” there was even any sexual tension.
Smollett testified further Monday he wasn’t friendly at all with Ola Osundairo.
“He kind of creeped me out,” Smollett told jurors. “Every time we were around him, he didn’t speak to me. Every time we needed to leave, he made it seem like we needed to sneak off.”
Smollett, 39, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct, a charge punishable by up to three years in prison. His defense attorneys have said he was a real victim and have suggested during the trial that homophobia may have been a motive in the attack.
The decision to testify in one’s own defense is a high-risk move because the prosecution is allowed to closely cross-examine the defendant.
In recent weeks, two defendants in high-profile homicide trials have taken the stand to mixed results. Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, testified in his own defense, and a jury ultimately acquitted him of all charges. Yet in Georgia, a jury convicted Travis McMichael of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s death after he took the stand.
Smollett’s case involves far less serious charges, and is untied to civilians using lethal weapons.

How the trial has gone so far

Jussie Smollett testified in his own defense on Monday, December 6.Jussie Smollett testified in his own defense on Monday, December 6.
The prosecution called seven witnesses over the course of three days of testimony last week.
First, five police investigators testified that Smollett told them two men had attacked him in the street, yelled racist, anti-gay and pro-Trump remarks, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
However, those two men — “Bola” and “Ola” Osundairo — were determined to be Smollett’s acquaintances from the “Empire” TV show. They testified that Smollett had actually directed them and paid them to stage a fake hate crime in an attempt to get sympathetic media coverage and further his acting career.
“Who was in charge of this thing?” special prosecutor Daniel Webb asked.
“Jussie was,” Bola Osundairo told the jury.
Smollett’s defense, meanwhile, has argued he was actually attacked in a hate crime. They called three witnesses last week, including Smollett’s former music manager and publicist.
On Monday morning, an “Empire” executive producer testified that the show had received a threatening letter in the mail a week before the January 2019 incident. The producer, Brett Mahoney, said Smollett did not want the letter publicized.
Jussie Smollett's trial has started. This is how we got hereJussie Smollett's trial has started. This is how we got here
Overall, Smollett’s defense has relied on inflammatory questioning of witnesses and outbursts that have led to several heated exchanges with Judge James Linn.
For example, in cross-examination of Ola Osundairo, after Judge Linn directed the defense to move on from a particular line of questioning, defense attorney Tamara Walker asked for a mistrial, sobbed in court and then said the judge had “lunged” at her during a sidebar conversation.
Judge Linn denied the accusation and denied the motion for a mistrial, saying he was stunned by the request.
“Ms. Walker, there were objections that had to be sustained and I was trying to get back on point,” the judge said. “Just because you think you were allowed to go one way, we’re all just doing our jobs.”
The trial is the culmination of a case that began in January 2019 when Smollett told police he had been attacked. Celebrities, politicians and advocacy groups rallied behind the actor, and police poured significant resources into solving the case and locating the two men.
But after interviewing the Osundairo brothers and finding other evidence, authorities instead determined that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the hate crime against him so he could get publicity and a career boost.
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct by a Cook County, Illinois, grand jury in March 2019, but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office decided to drop those charges weeks later. The decision angered the mayor and police and sparked questions as to whether Smollett had received preferential treatment.
A special prosecutor then took over the case, and a grand jury indicted Smollett on new charges in February 2020.
The incident effectively ended Smollett’s acting career. His character was written off “Empire,” which ended in 2020, and though he has since directed and produced a film, he has not appeared on screen again.
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