Jussie Smollett and the two men who attacked him as part of an alleged hate crime hoax participated in a “dry run” of the incident to ensure that it would go according to plan, prosecutor Dan Webb alleged in his Monday evening opening remarks at the disgraced actor’s trial.
“I want you to attack me, but when you hit me, I want you to kind of pull your punches a bit because I don’t want to get seriously hurt,” Smollett told brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, according to Webb. Webb cited alleged video evidence showing Smollett’s Mercedes circling the location of the faked attack before it happened, and said that would be evidence that the three men knew where they wanted the assault to occur.
Amazing. Smollett brought his “attackers” on a dry run the day before the fake hate crime, and it’s on video. pic.twitter.com/vsBQeldtSZ
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 30, 2021
Both Osundairo brothers worked on the set of Empire, the show on which Smollett appeared for five seasons. Smollett paid them $3,500 to yell racial and homophobic slurs, pour bleach on him and throw a noose around his neck, according to police. The brothers claim that the money was for personal training ahead of a music video the actor was set to appear in. (RELATED: ‘Empire’ Director Lee Daniels Says He’s ‘Beyond Embarrassed’ About Jussie Smollett Case)
The noose was intended to “make it look more like a lynching, like a hate crime,” Webb said.
After the alleged attack, Smollett received an outpouring of support from celebrities and Democratic politicians, many of whom called it a “modern-day lynching.” Charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report to police, he faces up to three years in prison.