Jussie Smollett is facing six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police and if convicted, The former Empire star faces up to three years in jail.
Prosecutors allege the actor paid Abimbola and Olabinjo $3,500 to “fake beat him up” to get attention on the set of “Empire” while the defense claims the attack was real and carried out because the brothers are homophobic and wanted to avoid charges themselves.
Jussie Smollett took the stand today and testified that while at a gay bathhouse, he did drugs and made out with one of the two brothers accused of staging a hate crime against him.
The former “Empire” television star, 39, was called to testify in his own defense on day five of his criminal trial in Chicago criminal court and described meeting Abimbola Osundairo at a nightclub in the fall of 2017 and doing bumps of cocaine with him.
“We were in a club, you go to the bathroom, go to a stall, do a bump, do a bump, and then just kind of keep going in and then we went to the bathhouse,” Smollett said.
While at the Steamworks bathhouse in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, the pair went into a private room where there was gay pornography on the screens, Smollett said.
“We did more drugs and made out,” Smollett said, adding that there was “touching and things like that” but that the sexual encounter didn’t go further until their next trip to the bathhouse.
During that encounter, Smollett testified they masturbated each other.
“We went alone this time. We got a private room again, we did drugs and made out a little bit and this time, we masturbated together,” he said.
Last week, Abimbola was called to testify as the prosecution’s star witness and said under oath that he was heterosexual and he and Jussie Smollett never had a sexual relationship together. He was also questioned about whether they had masturbated together at Steamworks and Abimbola denied it, but did acknowledge they’d gone to the spa together in the past.
Smollett testified that on the night of their second bathhouse visit, he met Osundairo’s older brother, Olabinjo, at a female strip club earlier in the evening. “[Abimbola] was whispering like, ‘Let’s make a break’ and we left,” Smollett recalled.
When asked about whether Olabinjo knew about the spa escapades, Smollett said, “The assumption was, of course he didn’t because we had to sneak out.”
The actor, who wore a dark blue suit, a light blue shirt, and a burgundy tie, expressed embarrassment when asked whether he regretted his drug use on Monday.
“Of course, I’m sitting here in front of a jury, in front of my mom having to explain it,” he said.
Smollett appeared mostly calm and confident on the stand, only sometimes tripping over his words, as he testified about his rise to fame on “Empire” and drug-fueled partying.
He compared testifying at one point to being in the VIP section at clubs and said it felt like being a “monkey in a cage.”
“You’re just in a box with everybody looking at you,” he said.
Smollett initially gave background about his life as a child actor, saying that his family wasn’t rich as he grew up.
‘The Olsen twins were child stars. I was not a star,’ Smollett said, referring to himself as a ‘working child actor’ growing up, appearing in films such as the Mighty Ducks franchise.
Smollett began talking about his jobs as a young person, including a cashier, and a birthday clown.
He was asked to identify his family, including his late father, who is white and Jewish. He mentioned not always have gotten along with him but that they made peace before he died in 2015.
When Smollett was 13, he and his siblings starred on the TV series “On Our Own,” which lasted one season, before his interest shifted to music.