Jussie Smollett’s defense team rested its case on Tuesday after the Empire actor claimed that his attackers, the Osundairo brothers, asked him for $2 million to “go away” and say that they were not involved in any sort of staged attack.
Denying the claims, Abimbola Osundairo and his brother, Olabinjo, testified that they were paid $3,500 to pull off the hoax, and staged an incident that would appear as a hate crime in order to boost Jussie’s celebrity attention.
In the 2019 attack, Jussie Smollett filed a police report stating that he was attacked by men who shouted pro-Trump sentiments and racial slurs at him before tying a rope around his neck and dousing him with bleach. He is currently on trial accused of falsifying the police report after the Osundairo brothers claimed that they were paid to pull off the fake attack to give the actor sympathy in the public eye.
Jussie Smollett testified on Tuesday that after the Osundairo brothers were identified as the attackers, they told the actor that they would deny being a part of it if he paid them $1 million each. After being cross-examined, he said that they did not contact him to ask this directly, but instead sent a representative to reach out to one of his own representatives.
He later said that he never paid the Osundairo brothers any money, however, except for the $3,500 which he claimed was for training and nutrition advice.
Abimbola Osundairo, who was an aspiring actor and a stand-in for Jussie Smollett’s love interest on the television show Empire, was also brought on as his personal trainer and bodybuilder at the time. He and his brother, Ola, claim that the $3,500 was for staging the fake hate crime, not payment for physical training.
The two were also very friendly before the attack, even once going to a club to do drugs and share a romantic time together. “We went alone this time and got a private room and did drugs and masturbated together,” Jussie testified on Tuesday.
According to TMZ, Abimbola denied ever being in a relationship with Jussie, and said that the two of them were never intimate. TMZ later posted photos of Jussie and Abimbola that the news outlet obtained of them at the club, where the two appear to be having a laugh and smiling.
Abimbola told the jury that he agreed to help Jussie in staging the bogus attack because he felt “indebted” to his “close friend.”
If the Osundairo brothers’ story is to be believed, the jury would have to rule that there is enough evidence to say that Smollett staged the attack, paid them $3,500, and then filed a false police report. Testifying on Tuesday, Smollett admitted to paying the brothers $3,500, but for physical training advice.
If Jussie Smollett’s story is to be believed by the jury, he was attacked in a hate crime by a former co-worker–also his personal trainer and a one-time fling–who later attempted to extort $2 million to keep quiet about the attack.
As the defense rested its case and headed to closing arguments on Wednesday, the trial is left with a lot of testimony full of claims and denials, but very little evidence. Jussie Smollett faces up to three years in prison for filing a false police report.
Many critics believe that Jussie Smollett did not do his case any justice by taking the stand on Tuesday, however, and only further complicated his side of the story.
In cross-examination, Smollett could not answer why he was at the intersection at 2 a.m. before the attack. He said that he remembered wanting to go out and buy eggs because of nutrition advice given to him by Abimbola, but that by 2 a.m. the grocery store that he went to was closed.
The Osundairo brothers testified that they were explicitly told to be at that intersection at 2 a.m. for the staged attack. Jussie Smollett called the claim “a bold-faced lie.”
“As I have said for the past three years… That never happened,” Jussie Smollett testified. “To answer all your questions about the hoax, I am going to deny. There was no hoax.”