Jury selection began today in the trial of Jussie Smollett. Smollett stands accused of six counts of disorderly conduct after he allegedly made a false police report that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago in 2019. The Chicago Sun Times Reports–
“Smollett, who is Black and gay, said he was walking home when two men approached him in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street and attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.
The actor claimed the men had also shouted “This is MAGA country,” a reference to then-President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan, poured a bleach-like liquid on him and hung a thin rope noose around his neck.”
Smollett was a starring actor on American musical drama “Empire”. After details began to emerge that Smollett’s accusation were false, Empire creator Lee Daniels said he wouldn’t be brought on for the sixth season.
As doubt was starting to be cast on Smollett’s accusations, two extras on Empire, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were arrested in connection with the hoax. It was revealed that Smollett payed them $3,500 each to attack him and stage the incident. The brothers were later released and are expected to be key witnesses in the case.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx came under intense scrutiny after the charges against Smollett were initially dropped and it was revealed that she spoke to Smollett’s relatives about the case. The Department of Justice took up the case and found that Foxx “abused” her prosecutorial discretion in deciding to drop the case.