‘There was no hoax,’ says Jussie Smollett in court

Image credit: chicagotribune.com

Jussie Smollett, a black actor in the United States, has denied staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself, stating in court that there was no fake.

Mr Smollett, 39, said that on January 29, 2019, he was attacked by two individuals shouting racial obscenities in downtown Chicago. He maintained, through his storey to authorities, that the assailants yelled a Trump slogan and hung him from a noose.

Smollett is accused of lying about the attack and faces six felony disorderly conduct charges.

Prosecutors claim that the actor faked the event to advance his career.

On Monday, Mr Smollett spoke in his own defence, dismissing previous testimony from two Nigerian-born brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who claimed last week that the actor staged the attack himself and paid them $3,500 to carry it out.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mr Smollett was heading home after getting a sandwich from Subway in the early hours of one of the coldest nights of the year when something out of a Looney Tune adventure happened to him.

Last week, the Osundairo brothers testified that Mr Smollett told them to yell something about Maga country while roughing him up during the allegedly staged assault.

Mr Smollett told the jury on Monday that he didn’t realise the rope was around his neck until he came home to his apartment building after the alleged attack.

He allegedly sought to boost his profile because he was disappointed with his pay on Empire, a TV programme about a hip-hop dynasty, according to officials.

Mr Smollett claimed that by the fifth season of the show, he was being paid $100,000 per episode. During the fallout from the purported hate crime hoax, he was eventually written off the programme.

On Monday, Mr Smollett told the court that the scandal had cost him his job. He might face a three-year prison sentence if convicted. However, given his lack of prior convictions, legal experts believe a lower sentence or probation is more likely.