Actor Jussie Smollett took to the stand in his own defense December 6 in his ongoing trial for faking a hate crime. In his testimony, Smollett claimed that he had sex and used drugs with one of the men he allegedly hired to help him stage the attack. He further claimed that he in no way perpetrated a hoax.
Smollett maintains that he did not fake a hate crime he reported in January 2019.
“There was no hoax,” Smollett told the court, according to The New York Post. “What happened to me, happened.”
Smollett asserted that the attack terrified him, as he feared injury to his face. “I’m not a character actor, you know, if I was a character actor maybe it’d be different,” he told the court. “My character was a superstar, a pop star, a beloved GQ whatever, it was very important that I looked like a black Cary Grant.”
“I have a scar that has not healed under my right eye, three years later I have blackness around my left eye that has not healed… my injuries were real,” an emotional Smollett testified.
“The moment I got beat I became a f*ggot who got his ass whooped,” he added, claiming that the attack would have hurt his career.
Smollett also testified that a check for $3,500 paid to Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo–two men who claim to have helped Smollett stage the attack–was only for nutritional and physical training. He also claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Abimbola.
Smollett says he met Amibola Osundario in 2017 while visiting a nightclub. After a few hours of partying the two adjourned to Chicago’s famed gay bathhouse, Steamworks. Smollett says that he and Abimbola then began using cocaine and had a sexual encounter.
“We were in a club, you go to the bathroom, go to a stall, do a bump, do a bump and then just kind of keep going in and then we went to the bathhouse,” Smollet told the court. “We did more drugs and made out,” he elaborated, adding the pair were “touching and things like that.”
The two returned to Steamworks another day, and this time, the relationship became more sexual. “We went alone this time. We got a private room again, we did drugs and made out a little bit and this time, we masturbated together,” he said.
Amibola Osundario, for his part, has denied any sexual relationship or encounters with Smollett. Smollett also claimed that Ola Osundario was not aware of the sexual relationship between Amibola and Smollett. Smollett accused the Osundario brothers of attempted blackmail, and claimed that his reluctance to cooperate with police stemmed from his distrust of law enforcement as a gay man.
“I am a Black man in America. I do not trust the police,” Smollett said.
Smollett stands trial for six counts of felony disorderly conduct in connection with the faking of the hate crime. In January 2019, he reported being attacked by two masked men, beaten, doused in bleach, and that he had a noose tied around his neck. He further alleged that his attackers yelled homophobic and racist slurs while shouting “This is MAGA country.” Within about two weeks of the attack, police raided the home of the Osundario brothers and compiled evidence that Smollett had paid them to fake the crime. Smollett was subsequently fired from his job on the Fox TV series Empire as a result of the allegations.