It’s surprising, even for a man who’s spent so much of his career in front of a camera, that Jussie Smollett was upset the most infamous moment in his life wasn’t caught on camera.
Was it his undoing? Would it have led to his downfall sooner? It’s unclear, but prosecutors say one thing foiled Smollett’s original plan to create the perfect “hate crime” — the direction of a camera on the street.
(The Western Journal was one of the first outlets to point out the holes of the Smollett case in 2019 — and we kept fighting the system after he received little more than a slap on the wrist from prosecutors who wanted the case to go away. You can help us continue telling the truth when so many others are predisposed to fall back on liberal narratives by subscribing today.)
In testimony last week, Chicago police Detective Kimberly Murray told the court the former “Empire” actor seemed to be “upset” when he was told the attack hadn’t been recorded on camera, according to WMAQ-TV.
Smollett, who had been questioned by Murray on the morning he reported the January 2019 incident, said two men had beat him up in a racist, homophobic attack while he was returning from a sandwich run. He’s now standing trial for six counts of felony disorderly conduct after reporting what’s alleged to be a hate crime hoax — one he orchestrated thinking there would be a camera there to record it.
Murray, according to WMAQ, “said Smollett was ‘upset’ when she told him a surveillance camera in the area didn’t capture the alleged attack because it was pointed away from the scene. Murray said she explained to the actor that the cover on the pod camera makes it impossible to know which way it is pointing.”
Prosecutors allege Smollett had done a “dry run” of the attack with two men, brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, who say Smollett hired them to “attack” him. Abimbola Osundairo testified on Wednesday, telling the court he met Smollett in 2017 through a mutual friend, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In January of 2019, Smollett engaged Osundairo to put together a diet and exercise plan to get him fit for filming a music video, Osundairo said, according to the Tribune. Later in the month, Osundairo said, the actor told him to meet at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, after which they took a drive. Smollett talked about hate mail he had allegedly received, including racist threats.
“[Smollett] talked about how the studio was not taking the hate mail seriously,” Osundairo said in his testimony, according to the Tribune. “Then he proceeded to tell me he wanted me to beat him up.”
“I looked puzzled, and then he explained that he wanted me to fake beat him up,” he continued. “He told me that we would need another person to fake beat him up and he mentioned could my brother do it? I said yes,” adding he agreed because of his gratitude toward Smollett for securing a stand-in role on “Empire” for him.
He said Smollett drove to the city’s North Side where they met up with Abimbola Osundairo’s brother, Olabinjo.
“He told Ola he would want us to fake beat him up, then we went over the details of what he wanted us to say and do,” Abimbola Osundairo testified, according to the Tribune’s report, adding he wanted the men to yell “Empire” and “MAGA” as they faked beating him up.
“He wanted me to punch him but he wanted me to pull the punch so I don’t hurt him … my brother Ola would tie the noose around his neck and pour bleach on him,” he said.
“During their dress rehearsal, Osundairo said, the brothers and Smollett drove around the area where the attack was to occur,” the Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner reported.
“He said Smollett pointed to a police camera at the intersection by his building and said he wanted to use the footage of the attack ‘for media.’”
Alas, the actor hadn’t counted on not being able to identify where the type of camera that was being used was being pointed.
If the reports are true, you’d think he’d be a bit more aware about the production values when he was on-set for his entry in “America Hoaxiest Home Videos.”
It was a comical mistake that helped the whole story fall apart.
It’s possible it would have anyway. Police quickly fixated on the Osundairo brothers as suspects after reviewing other surveillance videos and records from taxi and rideshare services in the area, as WMAQ reported. When police took the brothers into custody, they accused Smollett of orchestrating the hoax and had the receipts to back it up.
Meanwhile, Smollett’s story began to change. He originally said one attacker was white because he could see through the “open eye hole” of his ski mask and look at his skin color. He later told a detective who interviewed him two weeks after the incident that the attacker had “pale skin” instead. Confronted about the fact these skin color descriptions were at variance, Smollett said the man “acted like he was white by what he said,” WMAQQ reported.
When the detective told him the Osundairo brothers were in custody for the attack, “He said ‘It can’t be them, they’re black as sin,” the detective said, according to WMAQ. He concluded Smollett had been lying.
Smollett was about to sign a complaint against Osundairos but was stopped by his attorney, according to WMAQ.
He later sent one of the brothers a text, the station reported: “Brother… I love you. I stand with you,” the message said. “I know 1000% you and your brother did nothing wrong and never would. I am making a statement so everyone else knows. They will not get away with this. Please hit me when they let you go. I’m behind you fully.”
What they didn’t know was that Smollett had almost signed a complaint against them. That’s OK, though: Smollett didn’t know they had already turned against him.
There is a defense argument in this case, it must be noted; Smollett’s lawyers contend the Osundairo brothers attacked him because he was gay and that they tried to pin it on Smollett, in part, because when police searched their home they discovered heroin and firearms.
That being said, everything in the case so far doesn’t make the actor’s defense look spectacular. The story was malodorous from the get-go, even more so when the actor refused to turn over his cell phone and medical records to police, as well as refusing to turn over a DNA sample.
Then there were his shifting stories and prosecutors who gave him an unusual slap on the wrist without officially resolving the charges: hours of community service, which included work with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and forfeiting his original $10,000 bond.
That had authorities calling foul, particularly given the cost of the investigation and the amount of police resources diverted to it. That’s why Smollett is in court now.
Granted, given law enforcement were able to track the Osundairo brothers down via rideshare records and other video footage, this likely would have been sussed out one way or another.
However, what does it say about the alleged Smollett hate-crime hoax that, even after a “dry run” was conducted, the “victim” couldn’t even figure out a way to get it caught on camera?
If Smollett wasn’t a comic actor before, he might want to consider it now.
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