State rests its case at Smollett trial
The state has rested its case at Jussie Smollett's trial after key testimony from two brothers who said the former Empire actor plotted a racist and anti-gay attack on himself in downtown Chicago and paid them to carry it out.
After a three-day presentation of evidence, special prosecutor Dan Webb told the presiding judge on Thursday evening that the prosecution was finished.
The defence began its case immediately, calling Brandon Moore, Smollett's music manager at the time.
Earlier in the day, Smollett's lawyer worked to discredit the brothers' accounts, suggesting they attacked Smollett because they didn't like him, and tried to get him to pay them each $US1 million ($A1.4 million) not to testify that he staged the assault.
Defence lawyer Shay Allen suggested the brothers were motivated to accuse Smollett of staging the hoax because they disliked the performer - who is gay and black - and then saw an opportunity to make money.
Olabingo Osundairo's testimony echoed the account his brother, Abimbola Osundairo, gave on the witness stand a day earlier, including that Smollett wanted the brothers to douse him with petrol and put a noose around his neck, and that Smollett gave them a $US100 ($A141) bill to buy the supplies and paid them with a $US3500 ($A4934) cheque.
Olabingo Osundairo said Smollett told him he received hate mail at the TV studio in Chicago "and he had this crazy idea of having two MAGA supporters attack him," an apparent reference to then-President Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again".
Osundairo believed the plan was to publicise the attack on social media, not to involve police, he said.
They opted to pour bleach on Smollett, Osundairo said, because he wasn't comfortable using petrol. He said Smollett wanted his brother to do the punching, and that it should look like he fought back.
Osundairo also addressed the defence contention that the brothers were driven by homophobia. He testified that he has nothing against gays and the jury was shown a photo of the siblings taking part in Chicago's 2015 gay pride parade dressed as trojan warriors.
Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors say was a false police report about the alleged attack on January 29, 2019 - one count for each time he gave a report - to three different officers.
The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said if Smollett is convicted he likely would be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.
Olabingo Osundairo also denied a white person was involved, or that he and his brother even wore masks or makeup to make it appear they were white. In statements that were widely ridiculed because the brothers are black, Smollett had said he saw pale or white skin around the eyes of one of his masked attackers.
During cross examination, Allen asked Abimbola Osundairo, who worked as a stand-in on the Chicago set of Empire, if he tried to get a $US5000 ($A7048)-per-week job as Smollett's security and if after he was questioned by police and released he told Smollett he and his brother wouldn't testify at his trial if they were each paid $US1 million ($A1.4 million).
Osundairo responded "No sir" to both.
Abimbola Osundairo stuck with his story during cross-examination, while also denying he had a sexual relationship with Smollett or that he asked the actor to hire him.
The defence said the brothers lied about Smollett staging the attack to get out of trouble for possessing the firearms and heroin that was also found in the home.
Abimbola Osundairo, an aspiring actor, said he and his brother agreed to their roles in the fake attack because he felt indebted to Smollett for helping him with his acting career.
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