Photo Credit: Jussie Smollett/Instagram

Jussie Smollett appeared in court today for his case in allegedly staging a hate crime hoax against himself in 2019. His attorney Nenye Uche said Smollett “is a real victim” of a “real crime,” and that the $3,5000 check he paid the two Nigerian men he described as white because they had ski masks on was for training to get him in shape for an upcoming music video. The attorney alleged a third attacker was involved and said there was not a “shred” of evidence linking Smollett to the crime.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb said “When he reported the fake hate crime that was a real crime.” The Associated Press reported “Webb said Smollett then “devised this fake crime,” holding a “dress rehearsal” with the two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, including telling them to shout racial and homophobic slurs and “MAGA.” Smollett also told the brothers — who worked on the “Empire” set — to buy ski masks, red hats and “a rope to make it look like a hate crime,” Webb told jurors. The brothers used a $100 bill that Smollett gave them to buy the supplies, Webb said.””

Smollett’s attorney said “At the end of the day they want you to believe Jussie was stupid enough to pay for a hoax with a check but was smart enough to pay (for supplies) with a $100 bill.” And buried in the 500 pages of Chicago Police Department reports is a statement from an area resident that said they saw a white man with “reddish brown hair” appearing to be waiting for someone that turned away from them with what appeared to be rope hanging from under their jacket. If this person testifies, it will support Smollett’s statements about seeing white around the eyes of one of the attackers. That could have been the third person.

This trial is expected to take a week.