This story originally appeared on CBS Chicago.
One of the two brothers who claim to be an actorIt prompted them to commit a mock attack that took place on Wednesday. Smollett, 39, faces six counts of disorderly conduct and is accused of lying to police about the 2019 incident.
Authorities said Smollett, who is black and gay, told Chicago police that he was attacked by two masked men who shouted racist and anti-gay insults in January 2019. Smollett claimed the men put a noose around his neck and doused him with a chemical. But prosecutors say Smollett masterminded the incident and paid two men $3,500 to launch the attack, which he denies.
Abel Osondaero, one of the brothers, spoke about his acting career and said that he worked as an extra on Spike Lee’s 2015 movie “Chi-Raq” and appeared regularly as an extra on Smollett’s previous show “Empire”.
“We became very good friends,” Osondaero said of Smollett. “I’ll call him my brother.”
Osondaero testified that Smollett wanted him to “mock him” and claimed that there was a debate over who Smollett would hit. “I think he said there would be a camera to film the mock attack – and that he wanted a camera to film the mock attack,” Osondaero said.
When prosecutors asked Osunderaro why he agreed to go through with the plan, Osundairo said he felt like he owed Smollett. “I agreed to do it, and more importantly, because I felt I owed it to Josie,” he said. “He also gave me a backup role in Empire, which I believe can further my acting career.”
Osondairo and his brother were initially arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack. But Smollett eventually turned from an alleged victim to a suspect. The brothers told investigators that Smollett gave them money to buy ski masks, ropes and red hats to make them look like supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Police said Smollett masterminded the plan because of an anonymous hate letter sent to the studio where “Empire” was filmed – and said Smollett did not believe the threat was taken seriously.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kimberly Murray, a Chicago police investigator, stood up. Small is accused of lying to her when he reported the incident.
Murray said Smollett’s injuries were minor and testified that he refused to turn over cell phone records after he reported receiving a threat over the phone prior to the alleged attack. She also said that Smollett refused to hand over medical records related to his injuries and refused a cheek swab in an attempt to pick up DNA from the rope that was tied around his neck.
On Monday, Smollett’s defense team insisted he was the victim of an attack by the brothers and claimed police “rushed to pass judgment” accusing Smollett of lying.
Detective Michael Theis, the case’s lead investigator, disputed this, saying that more than 20 officers had investigated the crime Smollett had reported for more than 3,000 hours. He said they reviewed more than 1,500 hours of surveillance video. “The mayor is down,” he said. “Everyone wants answers.” “They wanted to know what happened.”
Theis said investigators spent days trying to determine whether the brothers were telling the truth about the incident being a hoax. “At the end of the investigation, we determined that the alleged hate crime was in fact a staged event – the hate crime did not,” Theis said.
It is unclear whether Smollett will take a stand in his defence.