Chicago (CNN)Closing arguments are acceptable to instrumentality spot Wednesday successful Jussie Smollett's trial, a day aft the erstwhile "Empire" actor took the basal to rebut allegations that helium staged a hoax hatred transgression and lied to constabulary astir it successful January 2019.
Smollett, 39, has pleaded not blameworthy to six counts of disorderly conduct connected suspicion of making mendacious reports to police. The complaint is punishable by up to 3 years successful prison.
The transgression proceedings began past week arsenic prosecutors told the assemblage that Smollett, who is Black and gay, directed 2 acquaintances -- the brothers Bola and Ola Osundairo -- to transportation retired a fake anti-gay and racist onslaught connected a frigid nighttime successful Chicago adjacent Smollett's flat building. Five constabulary investigators and the Osundairo brothers testified for the prosecution past week.
Defense attorneys called 7 witnesses of their ain to testify, highlighted by Smollett himself. He testified implicit astir 8 hours Monday and Tuesday helium had not planned immoderate specified hoax, and that helium was really attacked 1 nighttime aft going retired to get a Subway sandwich.
After closing arguments Wednesday morning, the assemblage volition beryllium instructed connected the instrumentality and past sent to deliberate.
The agelong roadworthy to trial
The proceedings is the culmination of a lawsuit that began erstwhile Smollett told police helium was the unfortunate of a racist and homophobic onslaught successful January 2019. Two men allegedly attacked him, called him the n-word, enactment a noose astir his neck, poured bleach connected him and exclaimed, "This is MAGA country," according to police.
Celebrities, politicians and advocacy groups rallied down the actor, and constabulary poured important resources into solving the lawsuit and locating the suspects. But aft interviewing the Osundairo brothers -- who knew Smollett from the "Empire" amusement -- and uncovering different evidence, authorities alternatively determined that Smollett paid them $3,500 to signifier the hatred transgression truthful helium could get publicity and a vocation boost.
Smollett has repeatedly denied the allegations and his attorneys person said helium paid the brothers to beryllium his trainers.
Smollett was initially indicted connected 16 counts of felony disorderly behaviour successful March 2019. However, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's bureau dropped each charges weeks later, saying helium did assemblage service, mislaid his $10,000 enslaved and was nary information to the community. He besides had nary erstwhile felony convictions.
Months aft the charges were dropped, a justice appointed a peculiar authoritative to look into the lawsuit and analyse whether Smollett received preferential attraction from the state's attorney's office. A expansive assemblage indicted Smollett connected caller charges successful February 2020.
The incidental efficaciously ended Smollett's acting career. His quality was written disconnected "Empire," which ended successful 2020, and though helium has since directed and produced a film, helium has not appeared connected surface again.
Smollett inactive faces a civilian suit from the metropolis that demands reimbursement for the outgo of investigating his reported attack. He filed a countersuit successful November 2019 that yet was dismissed.
Key moments successful the trial
The stars of the prosecution's lawsuit were the Osundairo brothers, who were extras connected the "Empire" TV show. They each testified that Smollett directed them and paid them to signifier the onslaught successful an effort to get media attention.
Bola Osundairo, who was person to Smollett, told the tribunal that Smollett "wanted maine to fake bushed him up." He said helium agreed to bash truthful due to the fact that helium felt indebted to the actor.
"I believed helium could assistance further my acting career," Bola Osundairo testified. "He told maine that we would request different idiosyncratic to fake bushed him up. He mentioned could my member bash it. I said yes."
His member Ola Osundairo told jurors that Smollett "had this brainsick thought of having 2 MAGA supporters onslaught him," and that helium wanted "to enactment that connected societal media."
"Mr. Smollett asked you to fake onslaught him?" Deputy Special Prosecutor Sam Mendenhall asked.
"Yes," Ola Osundairo responded.
"Pretending to beryllium Trump supporters?" Mendenhall continued.
"Yes," Ola Osundairo said.
"So helium could past station it connected societal media?" the authoritative continued.
"Yes," Ola Osundairo answered.
As per their plan, the brothers met Smollett astatine astir 2 a.m. by his flat during a acold drawback known arsenic a "polar vortex," they testified. There, arsenic helium had instructed, they yelled "Empire, f****t, n***er, MAGA," fake punched him, poured bleach connected him and enactment a noose astir his neck, they testified.
"If you had not had precocious discussions with Jussie Smollett however would you cognize wherever helium would beryllium astatine 2 a.m. successful a polar vortex?" peculiar authoritative Dan Webb asked.
"I wouldn't," Bola Osundairo responded.
The defense, however, has repeatedly said Smollett was a existent unfortunate of an attack. They person suggested that the brothers were motivated by homophobia and/or an effort to scare Smollett into hiring them arsenic security.
Smollett took the basal to laic retired his mentation of events. He emphatically said helium did not program the onslaught up of clip and said helium paid the brothers $3,500 for grooming and nutritional proposal -- not for immoderate hoax attack.
"Have you ever planned a hoax?" his lawyer asked.
"Never successful my life," Smollett said.
He besides formed uncertainty connected the brothers' existent motivations. He said helium received a "hate letter" successful the message astatine the "Empire" workplace successful Chicago connected January 22, 2019, 7 days earlier the alleged attack. Afterward, Bola Osundairo approached him astir becoming his idiosyncratic information guard, thing Osundairo had repeatedly asked him, Smollett testified.
In addition, helium testified that helium formed a intersexual narration with Bola Osundairo but said helium was "creeped out" by Ola Osundairo. Bola Osundairo denied helium had immoderate intersexual narration with Smollett.
CNN's Omar Jimenez and Bill Kirkos reported from Chicago, Eric Levenson and Steve Almasy wrote and reported from New York and Atlanta. Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.