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Jussie Smollett's trial starts as the former 'Empire actor' looks calm going into jury selection

Actor has pleaded guilty for allegedly lying about having been the victim of a homophobic, racist attack in 2019.

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Jussie Smollett's trial starts as the former 'Empire actor' looks calm going into jury selection

The Jussie Smollett's trial officially began in Chicago on Monday. Jury selection will begin Monday.

Former "Empire'' actor" continues to claim that he was victim to a racist attack in downtown Chicago in January 2019. Olabinjo Osundairo and his siblings, Abimbola Osundairo, claim he paid them $3500 to pretend as his attackers.

Smollett arrived at court wearing a navy blue suit, wool coat and a gray striped tie underneath. As he arrived at court, he was wearing a black face mask and his arms were linked to his relatives who were there to support him while he claims innocence. As he entered the courtroom, he looked serious and composed as his supporters created a wall around himself. He was accompanied by his family, who sat with him in the courtroom and said their goodbyes. They then left him at the defense desk to observe the proceedings elsewhere in the building.

The courtroom has limited seating to to meet the jury selection pool as well as the requirements for social distancing .

Smollett has been accused of lying about the attack to police and is being charged with felony disorderly behavior. The crime is a class 4 felony and can lead to a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment. However, experts believe it is more likely that Smollett will be sentenced to probation and ordered to do community service.

The actor and director previously pleaded not guilty to renewed charges stemming out of the incident and instead maintained his original story, arguing the $3,500 check was for him and his personal trainer.

They are expected to testify in court and repeat the statements they made to police about Smollett paying them to execute the attack to increase his public profile. It is not yet clear if Smollett will testify in his own defense.

Jurors will be able to see surveillance footage from over four dozen cameras. Police reviewed the video to track the brothers' movements prior and after the attack. They also saw a video that showed the brothers buying a red hat and ski masks from a beauty supply store hours earlier.


NenyeUche, Smollett’s attorney, has not yet specified how they will handle that evidence during trial.

A statement by a Chicago Police Department resident that she witnessed a man dressed in a reddish brown color and who seemed to be in waiting for someone is found in Chicago Police Department reports. It covers nearly 500 pages.

A detective asked her why she was so upset when the man left her alone,  "could see hanging out from underneath his jacket what appeared to be a rope."
Smollett could have supported her assertion that his attackers tied a noose to his neck. Smollett's statement that he saw white skin around one of his masked attackers would be supported by her testimony that he was white -- which is widely ridiculed since the brothers are from Nigeria -- that he had seen pale or white skin around his eyes.

Smollett's lawyers will not be able to show that they didn't take part in the attack because there is so much evidence (including the statements of the brothers). This could lead to the defense arguing that Smollett was the victim in a real attack by the brothers.

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