He used the slur while quoting messages the actor sent to the Osundairo brothers
Empire actor Jussie Smollett took the stand in his own defense for a second time on Tuesday morning, and during cross-examination, he stopped special prosecutor Dan Webb from repeatedly using the N-word.
Webb, who is white, used the slur while quoting messages Smollett sent to the Osundairo brothers on the day of the alleged attack in 2019.
“Can you spell or say the n-word out of respect for every African American in this room? You’ve been saying that word a lot,” Jussie said in court, TMZ reports.
Webb then asked Jussie to read the messages himself, which he did at his trial on charges of staging a racist, anti-gay attack and lying to Chicago police about it.
As reported by The Associated Press, defense attorneys suggested that the prosecution’s star witnesses, the Osundairo brothers, Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo – who are Black, targeted Smollett and staged the hoax because they were motivated by money. The defense team argued that after the brothers were interrogated by Chicago police, they demanded $1M each from Smollett to not testify against him at trial.
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett arrives at the Leighton Courts Building for day six of his trial on December 7, 2021. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Smollett testified this week that he and Abimbola Osundairo met at a club in 2017. Over time, the two would get together and smoke week and visit a bathhouse, where Smollett said they masturbated each other.
Osundairo testified last week that he and Smollett did not have a sexual relationship.
Webb argued that Smollett was the mastermind behind the racist, anti-gay alleged attack in January 2019 when the openly gay actor/singer told police he was victimized by two men who wearing MAGA hats and yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
“Did you think by saying that the people that attacked you were white, it would lend credibility to a fake hate crime?” Webb asked, as reported by The Daily Beast.
Smollett replied: “You’d have to ask someone that did a fake hate crime.”
Prosecutors say Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with the studio’s response to threatening mail he received while working on Empire, theGrio reported. The Osundairo brothers claim he paid them $3,500 to pose as his attackers.
Per The AP, Smollett has pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making a false police report about the alleged attack — one count for each time he gave a report — to three different officers. The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years. If convicted, Smollett could avoid prison and instead be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service, according to the report.
Smollett said after news of his hate crime attack broke, he hated the attention.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 24: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on February 24, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct in a new criminal case connected to allegations he staged a hate crime on himself. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
“I’ve lost my livelihood,” he testified.
Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout.
The defense rested its case Tuesday. Closing statements are set to take place on Wednesday.
This article contains additional reporting from The Associated Press.
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