Jussie Smollett will finally face a trial for his 2019 stunt in which he claimed he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack in Chicago.
The actor, who was starring in the Fox Entertainment series “Empire” at the time, said his attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country” (a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan), poured a liquid on him that he thought was bleach and placed a noose-like rope around his neck.
However, the account has since been discredited by the two men Smollett reportedly paid to conduct the “racist and homophobic” assault — brothers Abel and Ola Osundario.
The brothers will testify in the trial, which begins Monday, according to their attorney, Gloria Rodriguez, according to The Associated Press.
They will claim Smollett was the star of an “attack” designed to take place near a surveillance camera, Rodriguez said.
She said they will testify that Smollett had them conduct what she called a “dress rehearsal.”
“He was telling them ‘Here’s a camera, there’s a camera and here’s where you are going to run away,’” Rodriguez said, according to AP.
Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct related to making false statements to police, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The maximum sentence on the charges is three years in prison, although Smollett could be sentenced to nothing more than probation, the Sun-Times reported.
Jussie Smollett makes rare public appearance at his film’s premiere days before next court datehttps://t.co/uPnFoGXNiI
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The scene for the trial was set last month when Judge James Linn rejected arguments from the actor’s lawyer that the charges against him should be dismissed, according to Fox News.
The claim being made was that under a deal with Cook County prosecutors in which charges were dropped without a trial taking place, Smollett performed community service and forfeited a $10,000 bond.
However, amid a firestorm of controversy over the deal, a special prosecutor was appointed who levied additional charges of lying to police against Smollett.
“It’s as clear as day – this case should be dismissed because of an immunity agreement,” Uche said. “A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle.”
Sean Wieber, an attorney with the special prosecutor’s office, said that claim should be “summarily dismissed.”
Should Jussie Smollett go to prison?
“We have already dealt with this before,” he said, according to USA Today. “Nothing we’ve heard today changes one iota (of the case). This can be comfortably denied.”
In a July hearing, Linn explained his reasoning for allowing the trial to go forward to a legal conclusion.
“There was no trial in this case, there was no jury empaneled, no witnesses were sworn, no evidence was heard, no guilty pleas were ever entered … nothing like that happened,” Linn said of the case, according to WGN-TV. “There was no adjudication of this case.”