CHICAGO — The man Jussie Smollett allegedly paid to help stage a hate crime took the stand on Wednesday at the actor’s criminal trial, describing how he participated in the fraud because he felt ‘ The “Empire” star could be helping her advance her acting career.
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Abimbola Osundaro, 28, told jurors in Chicago criminal court on the third day of the trial how Smollett directed nearly every aspect of the alleged mock assault, from racial and homophobic use to downplaying him and his brother, Olabinjo, who to throw. Need punches.
“He explained that he wanted me to fake beating him,” Osundaro testified.
“I agreed to do it because most importantly, I felt indebted to Jussie,” Osundaro said, “He also got me a stand-in role on ‘Empire’ and I also believed that He can help me advance my acting career.”
Osundaro and his brother are at the center of a sensational trial as star witnesses for the prosecution after they tell police they were paid $3,500 to help the former “Empire” star commit a hate crime on a fateful night in January 2019 it was done. Smollett’s team denied the allegations. and said that the men intended to attack him.
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Smollett is facing six counts of felony for lying to police and, if convicted, faces up to three years in prison.
Abimbola, who also worked on the set of “Empire,” testified that she and Smollett met through mutual friends in 2017 and became extremely close over the next year and a half because of the amount of time they spent together. Used to smoke together, visit strip clubs and sleep together. Starr’s Streeterville High-Rise.
Around 9 a.m. on January 25, 2019, Abimbola said he received a curious text message from Smollett asking for help “on the low” and whether he was available to meet “face-to-face” to discuss.
Later that afternoon, Smollett picked up the abymbola and the infamous plan was hatched from the front seat of the actor’s Mercedes Benz, he testified.
“He asked me if he could trust me and I replied, I said ‘yes’ and then he talked about how the studio wasn’t taking the mail seriously, the hate mail they got before was,” Abimbola said, citing a threatening letter Smollett claimed had been sent to “Empire” studios.
“I was confused, I looked shocked and then he explained that he wanted me to fake beating him,” she continued. “He told me we would need someone else to do the fake beating and he said can my brother do that? I said yes.”
Smollett then followed Abimbola back to his neighborhood where they picked up his brother.
“He told Ola that he wanted us to fake beating him up, then we went over the details of what he wanted us to say and do,” Abimbola testified.
“He first mentioned the words he wanted us to say to him, like ‘EMPIRE’, ‘f–t’, ‘n–r’, ‘MAGA’ then he said he wanted me to Attack him. He wanted me to punch him but he wanted me to punch so I didn’t hurt him,” he continued.
“Then he wanted it to look like he was fighting back, so I had to give him a chance to fight back and then eventually throw him on the ground and my brother would tie a noose around his neck and pour bleach on him.”
Within ten minutes, plans were laid and two days later a dress rehearsal was scheduled, Abimbola told the jurors.
From across the room, Smollett, dressed in a light blue shirt and burgundy tie, bowed his brow as he watched Abimbola testify about the alleged “dry run”.
On Sunday, January 27, the day before the attack, Abimbola said that Smollett picked up the two brothers and brought them to his neighborhood, where he pointed to the exact location he wanted to perpetrate the alleged fraud.
“He said there was going to be a camera to capture the fake attack, that he wanted a camera to capture the fake attack,” Abimbola said.
Asked by special prosecutor Dan Webb why he wanted to capture the attack, Abimbola testified that Smollett “wanted to use the camera footage for the media.”
Over and over again, Webb asked Abimbola why he agreed to participate in the fraud and he replied that he thought he owed Smollett.
“I told Ola that I felt indebted to Jussie and she helped me and she could really advance our acting careers and Ola agreed,” Abimbola said of the moment.