Jussie Smollett's trial for allegedly staging a hate crime he reported to the police has finally begun.
On Monday, November 29, the embattled actor was seen arriving at a Chicago courthouse with several family members — including his sister Jurnee Smollett — as he was bombarded with a huge crowd of reporters and photographers, TMZ reported.
Smollett is facing charges of felony disorderly conduct over the alleged January 2019 attack that took place in Chicago.
This is the city's second take on prosecuting Smollett for allegedly lying to cops after he was initially hit with 16 charges for filing false police reports. Though he was arrested in February 2019, all charges were unexpectedly dropped in March of that year by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office without explanation.
However, a special prosecutor later presented the case to a grand jury, who indicted the 39-year-old last year on six counts — all related to Smollett lying to cops about the incident. Nevertheless, Smollett has maintained his innocence concerning the charges in the new indictment.
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Smollett previously claimed he was attacked at 2 A.M. by two white men, who shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him, in addition to pouring what he believed to be bleach all over him, it was reported.
The Empire alum — who was dropped from the series' sixth and final season following his legal woes — also claimed his alleged attackers yelled "This is MAGA country" at him, in reference to Donald Trump, and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene.
Meanwhile, brothers Abel and Ola Osundario eventually came forward and claimed the entire incident was staged. According to the duo, Smollet paid them $3,500 to simulate the attack, as he wanted to use the allegedly fabricated hate crime to "raise his profile because he was unhappy with his role on Empire," OK! reported.
The Osundario brothers are expected to testify during Smollett's new trial, per TMZ, which was delayed due to the pandemic.
If Smollett is convicted on all six charges, he reportedly faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison.