Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett interrupted the prosecutor during his trial Tuesday, requesting that he stop reading the N-word aloud in the courtroom.
Smollett stands trial facing six felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a hate crime and fabricating a report to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo in February 2019.
Prosecutor Dan Webb read private text messages between Smollett and Abimbola on his location and flight delay information on the night of the incident, Fox News reported. Some of the messages included the N-word, which Webb read aloud, prompting Smollett to scold the attorney on the usage of the word.
He reportedly asked Webb to spell or abbreviate the word “out of respect for every African American” present in the courtroom, Fox News national correspondent Matt Finn reported via Twitter.
“I don’t intend to do that sir, you can read your messages aloud,”‘ Webb said, according to Finn.
Webb: I don’t intend to do that sort.. you can read your messages aloud.
Smollett then reads his own message
— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) December 7, 2021
Smollett agreed to Webb’s offer and read his own messages aloud before the jury, according to Finn. (RELATED: Smollett Says He Received Texts From Don Lemon Allegedly Informing Him That Police Didn’t Believe Story)
Smollett testified Tuesday that “there was no hoax,” Finn reported via Twitter. He said he drove, smoked a blunt and texted with a woman about a recent MSNBC appearance when the Osindairo brothers were in his car on Jan. 27 – the brothers allege that’s when the attack was being planned.
Olabinjo testified that Smollett told him about the staged attack at his apartment during a Dec. 2 testimony. He said that Smollett wanted Osundairo and his brother, Abimbola, to say “Aren’t you that Empire f*ggot n—-r?” and “This is MAGA country.”
He further testified that the attack was done to gain social media attention and the police were to be left out of the incident.