Jussie Smollett’s Trial Begins as Actor Faces Charges He Faked Racist Attack

On Monday, Jussie Smollett will face accusations of lying to Chicago police officers about being the victim of a racist and homophobic assault over three years ago.

  • The former Empire star, 39, alleged that he was attacked on the streets of downtown Chicago on January 29, 2019, Newsweek reports.
  • However, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo—captured on security camera footage carrying a rope and bleach on the night of the attack—have alleged that he paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
  • Smollett had alleged at the time that two men placed a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him as they said: “This is MAGA country,” in reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
  • Cook County judge has ordered that cameras and press will not be allowed inside the courtroom when Jussie Smollett’s trial kicks off Monday, according to Fox News.

Smollett is accused of lying to police about the alleged attack and has been charged with felony disorderly conduct. A class 4 felony, the crime carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. However, experts have said it is more likely that if the 39-year-old is convicted, he would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service.

Still, the actor has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings. After the brothers were taken into custody and released without charge, police noted at the time that the investigation had shifted. Shortly after, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.