Crime Jussie Smollett Trial: How Opening Arguments Could Influence Guilty Verdict
Jussie Smollett Makes First Red Carpet Appearance in Years Following Alleged Hate Crime Attack
The former Empire actor attended a screening of his new film and directorial debut B-Boy Blues in New York City on Friday evening On Friday evening, the 39-year-old actor attended a screening of his new film B-Boy Blues at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem multiplex in New York City — his first red carpet since his alleged 2019 hate crime attack in Chicago and subsequent legal troubles. For the outing, the Empire alum wore a black turtleneck and gray jacket as he smiled and posed for cameras before him. "Beyond humbled by last night's screening," Smollett said on his Instagram Story the following day.
The opening day of Jussie Smollett's trial—in which he stands accused of staging his own alleged racist and homophobic attack—may have already sown the seeds for a guilty verdict against the actor, according to a defense attorney.
Former Empire star Smollett, 39, had alleged that he was attacked on the streets of Chicago on January 29, 2019, by two supporters of former President, who he alleged tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
Key moments since Jussie Smollett reported Chicago attack
CHICAGO (AP) — Jussie Smollett goes to trial Monday on charges that he lied to Chicago police when the former “Empire” actor and R&B singer reported being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack nearly three years ago. Some key moments in the story: Jan. 22, 2019 — Smollett receives a racist and homophobic threatening letter at the studio in Chicago where "Empire" is filmed. Police later say they believe Smollett sent the letter himself. Jan. 29, 2019— Jussie Smollett tells police he was attacked by two men in downtown Chicago at 2 a.m.
His claims were challenged by, who alleged that the actor and singer had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett was subsequently arrested on charges of lying to police officers, before the charges were dropped in March 2019.
Following an investigation into why the charges were dropped, Smollett was charged in 2020 with disorderly conduct, a Class 4 felony that could result in up to three years in prison.
Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout.
And while Smollett's defense attorney Nenye Uchespecial prosecutor Dan Webb told the jury that the actor had orchestrated the attack because he was allegedly upset with how Empire broadcaster had reacted to a racist letter that was sent to him.
Jussie Smollett's Trial Begins as Actor Faces Charges He Faked Racist Attack
Former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett has been accused of orchestrating an alleged racist and homophobic attack on himself in Chicago almost three years ago.The former Empire star, 39, alleged that he was attacked on the streets of downtown Chicago on January 29, 2019. However, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo have alleged that he paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Additionally, Webb told the jury, surveillance video and still footage showed Smollett walking into his apartment with a sandwich after the alleged attack.
Criminal defense lawyer Julie Rendelman has told Newsweek that the prosecution's efforts to show motive in this case could lay the foundation for Smollett being found guilty, should the jury take it into consideration.
She said: "The prosecution, in its opening statement, effectively laid out a series of facts they intend to present to the jury to support the charges, which includes the two other co-conspirators, the payment of $3,500, video surveillance and a motive for why he would commit such a crime.
"While the prosecution is not required to provide a motive, if the jury buys that such motive exists, it can go a long way in bringing the jury to a guilty verdict."
While Smollett has been accused of giving the Osundairo brothers cash to buy rope and red "Make America Great Again" caps favored by Trump supporters, the actor's defense attorney Uche branded such conclusions illogical.
Jussie Smollett's trial starts today. This is how we got here
Jury selection starts Monday in the trial of former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett, who is accused of making false reports to authorities that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019. © Rob Kim/Getty Images NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: Director Jussie Smollett attends the New York Screening of "B-Boy Blues" at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem on November 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images) Smollett, 39, was indicted on six counts last year by a Cook County, Illinois, grand jury, but the actor has insisted on his innocence, repeatedly denying he orchestrated the attack.
"At the end of the day, they want you to believe Jussie was stupid enough to pay for a hoax with a check but was smart enough to pay (for supplies) with a $100 bill," said Uche on the opening day of the trial.
Uche also countered the prosecution's allegation that Smollett had orchestrated his own attack in a move against Fox Studios, stating that the actor had declined an offer for additional security from the studio.
Analyzing the approach of Smollett's legal counsel, Rendelman—a criminal attorney in both federal and New York state courts—told Newsweek: "The defense countered the prosecution claims as expected, questioning the motive, the credibility of the co-operators and portraying Smollett as the true victim.
"The real question is whose version of the facts will pan out as the trial unfolds, keeping in mind that the prosecution has the ultimate burden of proof."
Don Lemon Faces 'Ethical Questions' Over Jussie Smollett's Tip-Off Testimony .
Don Lemon has come under fire, after Jussie Smollett testified the CNN anchor warned him that police didn't believe his account of his alleged racial attack.Former Empire star Smollett is currently awaiting the jury's verdict, after standing trial amid accusations he orchestrated his own alleged attack by two men in 2019 on the streets of Chicago, during which he stated that a noose was tied around his neck.