Nigerian witness, Abimbola Osundairo has testified in court that Empire star actor, Jussie Smollett arranged with him to fake beating him up.
Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo said he was many things to Jussie Smollett: a friend, a colleague on the set of “Empire,” an occasional drug dealer, a bodybuilding coach and according to prosecutors an accomplice in a hoax hate crime attack.
On the third day of Smollett’s trial for allegedly arranging an assault that started a massive police manhunt in Chicago, Osundairo appeared as a star witness for the state.
For more than four hours, Osundairo, a bodybuilder mostly gave “yes” and “no” answers under questioning by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb.
Osundairo said Smollett, who is gay, texted him on Jan. 25, 2019, saying, “Might need your help on the low.”
Later, when the two were in Smollett’s car, Osundairo said the actor asked if he could trust him.
The pair then drove to the Osundairo family’s North Side home where Osundairo’s brother, Olabinjo Osundairo, joined them in the car.
The Osundairo brothers
He recounted how he befriended the actor, and how Smollett came to him in January 2019 and allegedly asked for a ‘favor’.
He said Smollett asked him to “fake beat him up” and even requested that he use an anti-gay slur and say “MAGA” during the staged homophobic and racist attack.
“I was confused. I looked puzzled. He [Smollett] explained to me that he wanted me to fake beat him up,” testified Osundairo, who met Smollett while he worked as an extra on the Fox drama “Empire” in 2017.
Osundairo told Webb that he and Smollett had a brotherly bond, and that he would procure drugs for the actor, while Smollett would help Osundairo with his upcoming acting career.
“We became good friends. I would say I would call him my brother,” Osundairo said of the friendship.
“I agreed to do it, because more importantly, I felt indebted to Jussie… I also believed he could help further my acting career,” Osundairo said.
Abimbola Osundairo said Smollett handed them a $100 bill for supplies and told the siblings that they should stage a scuffle, tie a noose around Smollett’s neck, pour gasoline on him and run away as the actor fought back.
Abimbola Osundairo said the three rehearsed the fake attack two days before the Jan. 29, 2019, incident, which Smollett said he wanted captured by a nearby surveillance camera “for [the] media,” Abimbola Osundairo testified.
The recorded footage didn’t include the alleged staged crime, but it did help Chicago police identify the Osundairos.
Smollett’s defence team said the actor gave the brothers a check for $3,500, which Abimbola Osundairo said he believed was payment for a food and exercise plan he gave the actor, as well as for their help with the staged attack.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, said as he was returning to his Streeterville apartment building that night he heard someone ahout “Empire n*****, Empire f*****,” Graves’ partner, Det. Kimberly Murray, said.
“What the f*** you say to me,” Smollett said he replied.
“This is MAGA country,” Smollett said one of his attackers yelled, along with a racial slur, before he was beat to the ground, Murray said.
Abimbola Osundairo speaking in court said every slur that was said was scripted by Smollett.
The trial continues.