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.
This headline didn’t take long to appear: Jussie Smollett’s lawyers claim judge ‘lunged’ at one of them, ask for a mistrial.
UPDATE: From America’s Newspaper of Record: Mirror Brought Into Courtroom So Jussie Smollett Can Face His Attackers.
(Updated and bumped.)