The trial for Jussie Smollett is set to start as jury selection begins Monday.
It was just 2019 when the black gay actor was on top of the world. His role on the hit television show “Empire” garnished him worldwide notoriety as well as chart-topping music. But all that would change one cold and windy night in Chicago when Smollett was attacked by two men at 2 a.m. while walking home from a Subway sandwich deli.
Smollett told police they recognized him from TV, began yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him, put a noose around his neck, and shouted, “This is MAGA country.” Smollett’s story quickly spread across the internet and his supporters flooded him with love and support. But just a few weeks later his story began to fall apart as police investigations uncovered two brothers who claimed Smollett staged the entire attack to help bolster his acting and singing career. The Nigerian brothers said they were paid $3,500 by Smollett to pretend to attack him on camera and to make it look like a hate crime.
Smollett was charged by Chicago Police with felony disorderly conduct for staging the attack.
The two men he allegedly paid to pose as his attackers will play an important role for prosecutors in the case.
The Osundairo brothers claim Smollett not only paid them but also drove them to the attack site before the incident as a “walkthrough” to make sure the attack went as planned.
Now the two brothers will take the stand to tell a jury exactly what they told police about Smollett. The jury will also see dozens of surrounding surveillance footage, some of which will show the attack, and others will show the brothers buying a MAGA hat, ski masks, and gloves hours earlier.
Smollett’s attorneys have not stated whether the actor will take the stand or how they plan to refute the story from the Osundairo brothers, but it is obvious they will try to attack the brothers’ credibility.
If convicted, Smollett could face up to three years in prison, but many experts believe he will only receive probation and or community service.
Since the incident, Smollet’s career has taken a back seat, but the actor has directed an independent film called “B-Boy Blues,” which is premiering at the American Black Film Festival this month.
Exonerated! Wrongly Convicted Black Folks Whose Names Have Been Cleared
1. Kevin Strickland, exonerated after wrongful conviction for murderSource:GoFundMe/Tricia Rojo Bushnell 1 of 18
2. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil IslamSource:Getty 2 of 18
3. Juwan Deering3 of 18
4. Herbert Alford
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A Michigan man who spent nearly five years in custody is suing Hertz for failing to produce in a timely manner a receipt that would have proved his innocence long before he was convicted of a 2011 murder. https://t.co/kZaI5tdOv4— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 12, 2021
5. Walter Forbes
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“I don’t hold contempt for the people who lied to convict me ... The reason is selfish: I wasn’t going to allow them to destroy me," said Walter Forbes, freed and exonerated last week after 37 years with the help of @UofMInnocence. https://t.co/WfanIitchU— The Innocence Project (@innocence) December 14, 2020
6. Termaine Joseph Hicks
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An innocent Philadelphia man has been freed after spending 19 years in prison because two police officers wrongly claimed he’d raped a woman and then shot at them, when he’d in fact saved her from a different man .Attorneys for Termaine Joseph Hicks claim cops made up the story . pic.twitter.com/FJp5DQUMoQ— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) December 18, 2020
7. Clifford Williams, Nathan Myers
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After a combined 86 years incarcerated for a crime they did not commit, Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers, were exonerated and released last week! Mr. Myers was 18 when he was arrested and is now 61. Mr. Williams was 33 and is now 76. https://t.co/EH2qPCspEj— Equal Justice Initiative (@eji_org) April 5, 2019
8. Calvin BrightSource:WUSA9 8 of 18
9. Kevin Baker, Sean Washington
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Kevin Baker and Sean Washington received life terms in 1996 that were overturned on appeal in December https://t.co/MSWoxkwPzi— Courier-Post (@cpsj) February 4, 2020
10. Theophalis Wilson
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Theophalis Wilson was 17-years-old when he was falsely accused of a triple murder in Philadelphia and sentenced to life in prison. Now, 28 years later, he finally has his freedom. He spoke with @KeithJones https://t.co/mVDISp68hy pic.twitter.com/RQ2pEdZBfM— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) January 22, 2020
11. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart
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And they are out: Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walk out of the Baltimore city courthouse after 36 yrs for a crime they didn’t do: pic.twitter.com/5UDGWMZmOB— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) November 25, 2019
12. Deandre Charles12 of 18
13. Exonerated Five - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise13 of 18
14. Anthony Ray Hinton
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Name: Anthony Ray Hinton, who was on Alabama’s Death Row for nearly 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit. In 2018, he wrote about his experience in the NYT bestseller, The Sun Does Shine.— City of Birmingham (@cityofbhamal) October 4, 2019
Occupation: Works in community education with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery pic.twitter.com/EwiaJueimb
15. Lamar Johnson15 of 18
16. Wilbert Jones
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Louisiana man freed from prison after serving 43 years for a crime he did not commit. Wilbert Jones was arrested in 1971 at the age of 19 and convicted of rape in 1974. A judge overturned his conviction weeks ago. He still had to pay $2,000 bail before becoming a free man today. pic.twitter.com/LYV4gbTPOf— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) November 15, 2017
17. Xavier DavisSource:Courtesy of Xavier Davis 17 of 18
18. Huwe Burton
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2,372nd Exon: Huwe Burton was convicted in 1991 for stabbing his mother to death when he was 16. He was exonerated on Jan 24th after an investigation showed that his confession was coerced and that his mother's real killer was likely a downstairs neighbor. https://t.co/TM3f76moQ5 pic.twitter.com/rsU1NlPr2y— Exoneration Registry (@exonerationlist) February 4, 2019
Jussie Smollett’s Trial For Lying About A Hate Crime Begins This Week was originally published on newsone.com