It appears that Jussie Smollett will finally be brought to justice for staging a hate crime hoax in 2019.
Smollett’s trial began on Monday, and following opening statements, it appears the prosecution may have an iron-clad case against him.
Smollett, an actor known for his role on the popular television series “Empire,” claimed two masked men attacked him in Chicago, Illinois, on Jan. 29, 2019, poured a liquid on him that he thought was bleach and tied a noose-like rope around his neck, yelling “This is MAGA country” as they did so, Fox News reported.
That story was later contested by the two men Smollett allegedly paid to pose as the Trump-loving attackers — two Nigerian brothers named Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo.
In opening statements given on Monday, the lead prosecutor in the trial — Dan Webb — revealed that the Osundairo brothers’ testimony would be a central facet of the state’s case against Smollett, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Webb further noted that Abimbola will testify that Smollett reached out to him prior to the incident to ask him to “shout a racial epithet and ‘MAGA!’ to make it seem like the assailants were racist supporters of President Trump.”
“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,” Webb said Smollett told the Osundairo brothers.
According to Webb, Smollett also instructed the brothers to place a rope around his neck to “make it look more like a lynching, like a hate crime.”
But, the most damning piece of evidence to be provided by the prosecution won’t even be the brothers’ testimony.
Rather, it will be video surveillance footage of Smollett and the brothers performing a “dry run” of the alleged hate crime attack.
Surveillance footage shows Jussie Smollett — prior to his alleged attack — circling the intersection where he claimed the attack occurred.
The prosecution claims Smollett and the two brothers who allegedly staged the attack were performing a "dry run" of the fake hate crime.
— Michael Austin (@mikeswriting) December 1, 2021
Webb claims that a surveillance camera caught Smollett’s Mercedes — prior to the alleged attack — circling the very same intersection where he would later say the attack occurred.
The evidence doesn’t stop there, however.
Webb also pointed out that Smollett even “tampered” with the rope his alleged accomplices had placed around his neck “to make it look more like a lynching.”
“By the time the police get there, Mr. Smollett has moved the knot closer to his throat,” Webb said as he pointed to a surveillance photo showing Smollett entering his apartment on the night of the alleged attack with the rope dangling from his neck.
“He wanted it to look like something more serious.”
It looks like this will be a fairly easy case for the prosecution to make, given the apparent mountain of evidence against Smollett.
As is the case with any defendant, Smollett is innocent until proven guilty.
That being said, if he did stage an elaborate hate crime as the evidence suggests — wasting valuable police resources in a city that sorely needs them — he deserves every bit of legal punishment coming his way.