The 'Empire' star took the stand for the second day in his disorderly conduct trial on Tuesday.
Former Empire star Jussie Smollett took the stand for the second day in his disorderly conduct trial on Tuesday, again denying allegations that he staged a brutal attack on himself in 2019. Smollett is facing six felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about what happened that night.
"To answer all your questions about the hoax I am going to deny," Smollett said, according to CBS Chicago. "There was no hoax."
Smollett says he was attacked while walking in Chicago late at night on January 29, 2019. The actor, who is Black and gay, has described a brutal attack by two men in which they beat him, yelled "racist and homophobic slurs," dumped an "unknown chemical substance" on him and put a noose around his neck.
But police and prosecutors say Smollett paid two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, $3,500 to help him stage the attack. Abel testified last week that Smollett wanted him to "fake beat him up," and said he went along with the plan because Smollett had been helping him with his acting career, according to CBS Chicago. Ola has also claimed that Smollett asked them to stage a fake attack.
During his Tuesday testimony, Smollett acknowledged that he, Abel and Ola had driven past the site of the alleged attack multiple times before it occurred, but said they were just driving around and smoking marijuana, CBS Chicago reported. Smollett said Monday that he and Abel had developed a sexual relationship before the alleged attack, which Abel has denied. Abel and Ola testified that they drove past the location with Smollett to scope out the site of the fake attack.
Smollett also spoke about the night of the alleged attack, denying that he told the brothers to be at the location at 2 a.m.
"That's a bold-faced lie," he said, according to CBS Chicago. He said messages exchanged with Abel that night, in which he told Abel that his flight was late, were about a personal training session.
Smollett also denied knowing that the two men who attacked him were the Osundairo brothers, telling prosecutors that "there's no way for me to know that." When asked how he did not recognize the brothers' voices, he said the alleged attack happened so quickly that he did not have time to think about who they were.
Smollett also acknowledged that while he initially said he thought his attackers' skin was white, he later changed that to "pale," CBS Chicago reported. When asked if he thought his alleged lie would be more credible if the attackers were white, Smollett said, "You would have to ask someone who actually planned a fake hate crime."
Smollett has consistently denied staging the attack, and has said there was a "rush to judgement" in accusing him.
This story was originally published by CBS News on Dec. 7, 2021 at 12:54 p.m. ET.