Jussie Smollett Trial: Olabinjo Osundairo Testifies

Olabinjo Osundairo affirmed Thursday in the trial of Jussie Smollett, the previous star of the television program Empire. Smollett is implicated of conspiring with Oundairo and his bro to stage a hate criminal offense versus himself in 2019. (Cook County Court House Sketch Artist)

Chicago, Ill. — The 2nd bro implicated of conspiring with previous Empire star Jussie Smollett to stage a racist and homophobic attack versus him in 2019 informed a jury Thursday that he consented to take part due to the fact that Smollett was a pal of his bro’s “and also to curry favor” with the effective star, who may have had the ability to assist him with his own recently established acting profession.

Olabinjo Osundairo called Smollett’s strategy to make it appear like he was assaulted by 2 fans of previous president Donald Trump a “crazy idea” however consented to take part anyhow.

Smollett’s defense attempted to paint Osundairo as an undependable witness whose story has actually altered because he initially spoke with authorities almost 3 years earlier. And they attempted to cast him as homophobic, explaining past remarks that he had actually made on social networks and in text, consisting of utilizing terms such as “fruity,” “gaylord,” and “sicko” to explain particular gay individuals. Smollett is freely gay.

In one especially tense minute throughout defense attorney Tamara Walker’s interrogation, Smollett’s group required a mistrial, dissatisfied with the method Cook County judge James Linn explained Walker’s line of questioning about the supposedly homophobic posts and texts. Walker implicated Linn of calling her questioning “unfocused” in front of the jury, and “lunging” at her throughout a sidebar. The defense likewise implicated Linn of making “snarling” facial expressions from the bench throughout their interrogations. A plainly annoyed Linn stated he was “stunned,” and he stated “there will be no mistrial.”

Olabinjo Osundairo followed his bro Abimbola on the witness stand throughout Smollett’s criminal trial. The 2 bros are crucial witnesses for the prosecution due to the fact that they are the ones who performed the expected attack and after that exposed the supposed conspiracy after they were nabbed by Chicago authorities about 2 weeks later on.

The Osundairos claim Smollett prepared the attack after getting a racist letter in the mail at the Empire studio and didn’t think the studio leaders were taking it seriously enough.

Both Osundairo bros are striving stars who dealt with Empire as additionals or stand-ins. While Abimbola Osundairo thought about Smollett a friend, Olabinjo Osundairo did not. They’d just hung out a couple of times.

The bros both informed the exact same basic story about Smollett’s approaching them about the strategy, providing a $100 expense to purchase products (consisting of a red MAGA-like hat), taking them through a dry run a day prior to the prepared attack, providing a $3,500 check, and directing them about how he desired the attack to decrease. They both stated Smollett directed them to call him racial and homophobic slurs, punch him — however not too difficult — splash him with bleach, hang a noose around his neck, and scream out “this is MAGA country,” describing Trump’s motto.

Investigators stated formerly that the bros’ accounts took a look at with other proof, consisting of security video footage, phone records, social-media posts, and text.

Throughout her interrogation, Walker kept in mind that a few of the statement that Olabinjo Osundairo provided on Thursday varied from statement he offered to authorities and to a grand jury in February 2019. For instance, on Thursday Osundairo stated he tossed bleach on Smollett rather of gas, which is what Smollett at first desired, due to the fact that he was worried about the security of tossing gas on him. But in previous grand-jury testimony, Osundairo stated he didn’t want to be seen on security cameras filling up a container with gas, Walker said.

On Thursday, Osundairo said Smollett didn’t want the brothers to bring their cellphones to the staged attack but didn’t say why. But in earlier testimony, he said they didn’t bring their phones because they didn’t want to drop them.

Osundairo said his memory is clearer now, nearly three years later, because he’s under less stress. “I was telling the truth,” he said of his earlier testimony, “but I was just arrested at the airport and kept in jail for two days, so that was pretty stressful.”

Walker asked Osundairo, who has a master’s degree in finance, if he felt offended when Smollett allegedly asked him to stage an attack. He said that “at first I was kind of taken aback.” She also asked if it bothered him “as a black man” when he said Smollett asked him to put a noose around his neck. “I just don’t let things like that bother me,” Osundairo said. He also said he didn’t put the rope around Smollett’s neck, but rather around his face.

Osundairo acknowledged that he participated in the alleged attack to “curry favor” with Smollett, but he said Smollett never promised him future favors. “I just think if I did something for him, maybe in the future he would help us out,” Osundairo said.

Osundairo said he believed Smollett was going to use the attack publicly on social media and with the leaders of the Empire studio to prove his point about a security threat. He told the jury he would not have participated if he knew Smollett was going to alert police.

“That was not the plan. Nobody was supposed to call the police,” he said.

Smollett’s manager, not Smollett, called police after the alleged attack. The defense argues that Smollett did not want to involve police, though Smollett told officers that morning that he kept the noose around his neck for more than half an hour after the alleged attack to show them.

Walker also tried to draw a connection between Osundairo and guns that police found in his family’s home. Olabinjo Osundairo was convicted of a felony in 2012 and can’t legally own or possess guns. However the guns in the family home all legally belonged to Abimbola Osundairo, the prosecution noted. Olabinjo Osundairo said he doesn’t live in the home but stays there often, keeps clothes and other items there, and uses it as his mailing address.

There’s no evidence that either Osundairo brother used a gun during the alleged attack.

Osundairo pushed back on allegations that he is homophobic. The terms he used on social media and in text messages were either used jokingly or were referring to a specific person he was angry with, he said.

The prosecution noted that both Osundairo brothers participated in a 2015 gay-pride parade in roles as shirtless Trojan warriors with swords. And Olabinjo Osundairo worked for several years as a bouncer at a bar in Boystown, a gay-friendly neighborhood in Chicago.

“I have no hate for anybody,” Osundairo said. “I believe in God, and God is love.”

Earlier in the day, Smollett’s defense lawyers attempted to paint Abimbola Osundairo as a social climber who befriended Smollett to further his own career and then attacked him as part of a plan to get the actor to hire him as a personal security guard. They alleged that Abimbola Osundairo wasn’t really Smollett’s friend but was his drug dealer, a characterization he denied.

The defense also alleged that Abimbola Osundairo was both homophobic and Smollett’s one-time boyfriend, both of which he denied.

The case rocked the nation in early 2019, with pundits and Democratic politicians pointing to the attack as evidence of bigotry rampant in Trump’s America. But in the weeks after the alleged attack, detectives became increasingly skeptical.

Smollett faces six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false report. If convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison but could also be let off with probation and community service.

The prosecution rested its case after Olabinjo Osundairo’s statement. The defense immediately asked Linn to issue a direct not-guilty finding, claiming that the evidence showed Smollett was battered in the attack and that the prosecution didn’t provide enough evidence to prove that he filed a false police report. Linn denied the request and stated there are “ample facts” for the jury to consider.

The defense called its first witnesses Thursday night: Smollett’s former music manager, who was on the phone with him when the alleged attack occurred, and the emergency-room physician who treated Smollett that morning. Dr. Robert Turelli testified that Smollett suffered real injuries during the alleged attack, but none of the injuries was traumatic.

Smollett’s one-time Los Angeles-based publicist Pamela Sharp testified that media attention made Smollett “anxious” and that he didn’t like to have a lot of security around him. Smollett, she stated, was earning at least $100,000 per episode of Empire, and his career was going “very good. Actually, things were great” before the alleged attack. She stated an actor’s face and appearance are “key” to a career, and it didn’t make sense to stage a hate crime that could harm his appearance.

Prosecutors noted that Sharp is a public-relations agent, once paid $3,500 a month by Smollett to make him look good in the press, and she was not in Chicago the day of the alleged attack.

Judge Linn stated Thursday that the trial would resume Monday. It’s uncertain if Smollett will affirm.

Send out an idea to the news group at NR.

Ryan Mills is a business and media press reporter at National Evaluation. He formerly worked for 14 years as a breaking news press reporter, investigative press reporter, and editor at papers in Florida. Initially from Minnesota, Ryan resides in the Fort Myers location with his spouse and 2 children.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.