Smollett will continue his testimony when court resumes Tuesday
Court has wrapped for the day in the ongoing trial of Jussie Smollett, accused of lying to police about an alleged hate crime.
The former "Empire" actor, who is Black and gay, has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself, insisting two men struck him, yelled anti-gay and racist remarks, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him on a cold January 2019 night in Chicago.
Last week, brothers "Bola" and "Ola" Osundairo testified that Smollett directed and paid them to carry out a sham anti-gay and racist attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage. Their testimony, as well as that of five Chicago police investigators, formed the core of the prosecution's case against Smollett.
Smollett took to the stand in his own defense today. His testimony suggested the Osundairo brothers may have had other motivations at play.
Smollett will continue his testimony when court resumes at 10:15 a.m. ET Tuesday.
Read more about what happened in court today here.
6:37 p.m. ET, December 6, 2021
Smollett testifies Abimbola Osundairo repeatedly asked to be his security guard
From CNN's Bill Kirkos
Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett took the stand in his ongoing criminal trial Monday in a high-stakes attempt to rebut charges that he staged a fake hate crime and lied to Chicago Police about it in January 2019.
Last week, brothers "Bola" and "Ola" Osundairo testified that Smollett, who is Black and gay, directed and paid them to carry out a sham anti-gay and racist attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage. Their testimony, as well as that of five Chicago police investigators, formed the core of the prosecution's case against Smollett.
But under oath Monday, Smollett offered testimony that suggested the brothers may have had other motivations at play.
Under direct examination, Smollett told defense attorney Nenye Uche that he hired Abimbola Osundairo, also known as "Bola," as his trainer after the man he had been using didn't return his call.
"Basically I turned to him and said you should be my trainer," Smollett told the jury. "He agreed."
Smollett continued, "I took my shirt off and showed him my belly…he (Bola) told me about an herbal steroid that was illegal here but he could get in Nigeria."
Smollett said he paid Bola $3,500 for training services, partly because he asked for it "upfront." He said he had paid other trainers $5,000 for similar services, telling the jury it was not unusual for actors to pay that much for personal trainers.
"Is your face important to you?" defense attorney Ucher asked. "Very important," Smollett replied. "I'm not a character actor," Smollett continued.
Calling the character he played on "Empire" a superstar, Smollett told the jury it was "very important I looked like a Black Cary Grant."
After a "hate letter" was sent to Smollett in the mail at the "Empire" studios in Chicago on Jan. 22, Smollett said Bola approached him about becoming his personal security guard, something the actor told the jury Bola had repeatedly asked him about in the past.
"I said it was annoying how they were basically going to have somebody with me and he said, "you should just let me be your security."
Smollett told the jury the issue became a "running theme."
"To me it became a running joke when he would say he was security every time we went out. It wasn't something that was going to be," Smollet said.
Smollett said following the "hate mail" incident, Bola began asking him more about the need for security. The actor also described being annoyed at the idea of always having a security detail around him.
"Around lunch time I would smoke my blunt, drive around the neighborhood of the studios. I don't want to be in someone's car," Smollett said.
"I don't need to be driven around like I'm like Miss Daisy," Smollett added.
Smollett told the jury that while driving around with Bola, there was never any discussion of planning a staged hate attack.
"Did you talk to him about some hoax?" Uche asked. "No," Smollett shot back. "Did you give him the check as payment for some silly hoax?" Uche then asked. "Never," Smollett said.
Smollett said after he got home to Chicago on a flight from New York, he "rolled a blunt," then put on his knit sweater jacket and then left his apartment.
Smollett says he went looking for eggs to eat since his trainer, Bola, had told him to eat four eggs before planning to work out.
"I took a walk to the Walgreens but they were closed and I decided to walk to Subway," Smollett told the court.
Smollett said he knew that a polar vortex was two days away and that he saw other people walking around.
"I'm wearing a Chicago hoodie from the airport, white shoes and my indigenous people's knit sweater,” Smollett said.
"Did the owners or employees of this Subway help you plan some elaborate hoax?" Uche asked.
"No," Smollett responded.
3:12 p.m. ET, December 6, 2021
Jussie Smollett testifies he couldn’t trust Osundairo brother and tells jurors he "kind of creeped me out"
He faces six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019. The former "Empire" actor has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly denied making up or orchestrating the attack.
His testimony early Monday afternoon focused on his relationship with the Osundairo brothers, including “Ola,” whom Smollett testified was someone he wasn’t friends with.
When asked by defense attorney Nenye Uche whether he could trust “Ola,” Smollett responded, “I knew, I couldn’t.”
“He kind of creeped me out,” Smollett told jurors. “Every time we were around him he didn’t speak to me. Every time we needed to leave, he made it seem like we needed to sneak off.”
But Smollett testified he did not necessarily see it as an issue. “He wasn’t feeling me, it’s fine. Who is he to me? It’s fine.”
“Bola” Osundairo, however, was someone Smollett viewed as a friend, whom he called “Bon.”
Smollett not only testified that “Bon” would help him get drugs, including cocaine, but also that a sexual relationship began to forge between the two at a particular Chicago bath house.
One night the two were out, and Smollett testified they got a private room and “did more drugs and like, made out.”
On a separate occasion, Smollett told jurors he and “Bon” snuck away from “Ola” after the three were at a female strip club together. Smollett testified they again got a private room and “made out a little bit, masturbated together.”
“Bola” Osundairo denied this during his testimony earlier in the trial and said he “didn’t know” there was even any sexual tension.
Separately, Smollett told jurors about frequently smoking and driving as a way to write music and as a substitute for not being approached by fans on the street.
“You couldn’t just walk down the street,” he testified as he mentioned these trips would also include drives around his own neighborhood smoking a blunt.
Smollett would do these drives by himself, but has also had others in the car while doing so, including “Bon” at a frequency of “too many to count.”
Testimony is ongoing and will continue with direct questioning after the court’s lunch break around 3 p.m. ET.
2:09 p.m. ET, December 6, 2021
What Smollett has previously said about the alleged 2019 attack
The former "Empire" actor is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police. He has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself in 2019, when he told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
About the reported attack: Smollett told authorities he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2019 by two men who were yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said the two men put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him, according to Chicago police.
Police began an investigation, taking Smollett's sweater and rope and eventually obtaining video showing the actor entering a Lowe's store after the alleged attack with what appeared to be a noose around his neck.
A day after the alleged attack, police said they found surveillance footage showing "potential persons of interest wanted for questioning."
Jussie Smollett, who is accused of lying to police about an alleged hate crime, has taken the stand in his own defense at his trial today.
The former "Empire" actor is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police.
Smollett has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself in 2019, when he told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
1:09 p.m. ET, December 6, 2021
The Jussie Smollett trial kicked off last week. Here's what you need to know.
From CNN's Jason Hanna, Omar Jimenez and Bill Kirkos
The long road in the Jussie Smollett case finally reached trial last week in Chicago, more than two years after police first alleged the actor lied about being the victim of a hate crime and wrongfully diverted weeks of investigative manpower.
The former "Empire" actor, who is Black and gay, has repeatedly denied staging an attack on himself, insisting two men struck him, yelled anti-gay and racist remarks, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him on a cold January 2019 night in the Windy City.
Authorities have argued evidence, including texts and accounts from two Smollett acquaintances, point to Smollett paying the pair to rough him up, so he could attract publicity and a career boost – a narrative Smollett has denied.
Opening statements began after the jury was seated, with prosecutors telling jurors the actor was an accomplice to his own "fake hate crime," while defense attorneys claimed Smollett was a "victim."
Special Prosecutor Daniel Webb claimed in opening statements that Smollett devised a "secret plan" in January 2019 with brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to make it appear a hate crime occurred against him by supporters of Donald Trump and to make producers of his former TV show take more seriously an alleged "hate" letter he received.
Defense counsel Nenye Uche opened directly to the jury, saying there was an "elephant" in the courtroom, and "we shall name this elephant: assumptions."
"Jussie Smollett is a victim — it's a shame I have to say it," said Uche. "This rush to judgment has destroyed Jussie's life."