Jussie Smollett Claims Brothers Wanted $2 Million to Change Their Story in Hoax Case
Jussie Smollett took the stand again to give testimony on his alleged attack in January 2019.
Deadline reports that the “Empire” star, who claims the attack was not a hoax, told the court that Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo tried to shake him down for $2 million.
The brothers have been central players in the case, and have said Smollett paid them to stage the attack.
As his testimony for the defense came to a close, Jussie brought up the shakedown bombshell. He insisted the brothers wanted $1 million apiece to “go away” and to tell the authorities the attack was real. Last week, Abimbola denied the accusation while on the stand.
Closing arguments are expected to start Wednesday, followed by jury deliberation.
Jussie is facing six felony counts for disorderly conduct and making a false police report. Prosecutors claim he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself with help from the brothers, while the “Empire” star says, “There was no hoax.”
Yesterday, Jussie walked the court through what he says happened as he headed home from a Subway restaurant in Chicago the night of the incident. According to Page Six, he says he heard someone yell, “Empire!” and call him a “f----t” and the N-word.
Speaking of the alleged assailant, he said, “This person felt significantly larger than me. They were dressed in dark clothes, a ski mask, and I could only see [their eyes].” He went on, “I would like to think I landed a punch, but I know that I certainly threw one.”
While on the stand, Jussie also explained some key points in the case. He claims a $3,500 check he gave to the brothers was not to pay for the attack but for coaching and training services.
He said texts about something “on the low” were actually about an illegal herbal steroid Abimbola had offered to get him to help him lose weight.
Reflecting on how he knew the brothers, Smollett said he met Abimbola at a nightclub in 2017 and they had done drugs together and spent time together at a gay bathhouse.
Last week, however, Abimbola testified that he was heterosexual and did not have a sexual relationship with the actor. He did confirm they had visited the spa together.
When Jussie was asked if Olabinjo knew about his relationship with Abimbola, he said he didn’t believe so.
Smollett could face up to three years in prison if convicted.