Trial of Jussie Smollett Begins This Week

Creator: Matt Marton | Credit: AP

The former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett contends he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in downtown Chicago on a frigid night in January 2019. The two brothers, who worked with him on the TV show, say he paid them $3,500 to pose as his attackers.

Smollett is accused of lying to police about the alleged attack and has been charged with felony disorderly conduct. A class 4 felony, the crime carries a sentence of up to three years in prison but experts have said it is more likely that if Smollett is convicted he would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service.

Whether Smollett, who is Black and gay, testifies remains an open question. But the siblings, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, will take the witness stand where they are expected to repeat what they have told police officers and prosecutors and that is that they carried out the attack at Smollett’s behest.

– Ella Breedlove