(VIA WGN NEWS) Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett took the witness stand in his own criminal trial Monday, forcefully denying any involvement in the alleged fake hate crime attack that thrust him into Chicago’s collective consciousness nearly three years ago.
Smollett’s testimony came during the fifth day of his trial at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. He was first questioned by his attorney Nenye Uche on direct examination and then by Dan Webb, of the special prosecutor’s office, on cross-examination.
Much of Smollett’s testimony directly contradicted that of Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, the prosecution’s star witnesses, who testified last week that Smollett recruited them to stage a phony hate on a frigid night in late January 2019.
Smollett asserted again Monday that he was the victim of a real hate crime and that he still has a scar on his face from the beating he sustained.
“Have you ever planned a hoax?” Uche, with his voice rising, asked near the conclusion of his examination.
“Never in my life,” Smollett answered, later adding that Abimbola Osundairo’s version of events was “fully false, 100% false.”