During Jussie Smollett’s trial in Chicago on Tuesday prosecutors say that the actor was recorded on surveillance camera completing a “dry run” a day before his purported hate crime attack.
Prosecutors believe that the tape proves the actor staged the alleged attack on Jan. 29, 2019.
According to Smollett’s lawyers, he was attacked by two Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who are expected to be key witnesses in the case.
Yesterday, The Chicago Tribune stated that prosecutors rejected that claim, citing a text message sent by Smollett to one of the siblings a few weeks after the purported attack.
“Brother…..I love you,” Smollett wrote to Abimbola in February “I stand with you. I know 10000% you and your brother did nothing wrong and never would.”
“I am making this statement so everyone else knows,” the text said. “They will not get away with this. Please hit me when they let you go. I am behind you fully.”
The text arrived just as the two brothers were being interrogated about the case.
Det. Michael Theis of the Chicago Police Department, the first witness summoned to the stand, described it as strange.
“To this day, has Mr. Smollett ever come clean about this hate crime?” deputy special prosecutor Samuel Mendenhall asked the officer.
Theis responded “Not that I’m aware of.”
According to a FoxNews article, Smollett was “not forthcoming” with police after reporting that he was attacked by men who used homophobic and racial slurs while allegedly assaulting him.
According to Theis, a team of approximately two dozen detectives spent 3,000 hours looking into the actor’s claim.
“This was horrible,” he testified. “I mean the crime was a hate crime, but a horrible hate crime. There was a noose, there was bleach. It was local news. It was national news.”
“Everyone wanted to know what happened, from the mayor on down,” Theis said. “Everybody wanted answers.”
Smollett, on the other hand, allegedly refused to give police his medical records or a DNA sample to compare to evidence found at the crime scene.
Theis testified “At the end of the investigation we determined that the alleged hate crime was actually a staged event.”
Surveillance footage from the day before showed Smollett walking near the location with the Osundario brothers, who were then seen taking a cab to a nearby neighborhood.
During the trial, special prosecutor Dan Webb told jurors that the two men then hopped in an Uber and met up with Smollett.
Prosecutors claim that Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 for their assistance in the alleged hoax.
Nenye Uche, a defense counsel, told jurors that the Osundarios attacked Smollett because they “did not like him as a person.”
If Smollett is found guilty of faking the incident as a media hoax, he faces three years in prison.