Saturday, December 4, 2021

REPORT: Jury Sees Video of Jussie Smollett Performing ‘Dry Run’ a Day Before Alleged Hate Attack

Source: NY Post

Published: November 30, 2021

By: Gabrielle Fonrouge and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

CHICAGO — Embattled “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was caught on surveillance video doing a “dry run” one day before his alleged hate crime attack, prosecutors said at his trial in Chicago Tuesday.

Prosecutors contend the footage confirms the actor faked the Jan. 29, 2019, alleged attack with Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who are expected to be key witnesses for the prosecution in the case.

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Smollett’s lawyers claim the actor was really attacked — by the two brothers.

Prosecutors poked a hole in that claim Tuesday, revealing a text message sent by Smollett to one of the siblings a couple of weeks after the alleged attack, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Brother…..I love you,” Smollett wrote to Abimbola Osundairo on Feb. 14, 2019. “I stand with you. I know 10000% you and your brother did nothing wrong and never would.”

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett arrives at court on the first full day of his trial for six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police, in Chicago, Illinois, November 30, 2021. - REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

“I am making this statement so everyone else knows,” the text said. “They will not get away with this. Please hit me when they let you go. I am behind you fully.”

The text came as the two brothers were being questioned in the case.

Chicago Police Detective Michael Theis, the first witness called to the stand, called it unusual.

“To this day, has Mr. Smollett ever come clean about this hate crime?” deputy special prosecutor Samuel Mendenhall asked the cop.

Actor Jussie Smollett arrives Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day two of his trial in Chicago.

Jussie Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago. - AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

“Not that I’m aware of,” Theis responded.

Theis also said Smollett was “not forthcoming” with investigators after he reported that he was attacked by men using homophobic and racial epithets while they allegedly assaulted him, according to a report by FoxNews.

Theis said a squad of about two dozen detectives logged some 3,000 hours investigating the actor’s claim.

Brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo appear outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Feb. 24, 2020. - AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file

“This was horrible,” he testified. “I mean the crime was a hate crime, but a horrible hate crime. There was a noose, there was bleach. It was local news. It was national news.”

“Everyone wanted to know what happened, from the mayor on down,” Theis said. “Everybody wanted answers.”

But he said Smollett refused to give cops his medical records or a DNA sample to compare to evidence at the scene.

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