Out actor Jussie Smollett on Monday
told a Chicago courtroom that a racist, homophobic attack against him
in 2019 “was no hoax.”
Smollett, who is black and came out gay
in 2015, claims he was attacked on January 29, 2019 by two men in
downtown Chicago. The men, he said, hurled racial and homophobic
slurs and told Smollett that he was in “MAGA country.”
Prosecutors allege that Smollett staged
the attack as a PR stunt.
Under cross-examination from special
prosecutor Daniel Webb, Smollett said it was “fully false, 100
percent false” that he planned or paid anyone to stage the attack
The 39-year-old actor is best known for
playing Jamal Lyon on Fox's Empire.
Smollett said that the fallout from the
attack led to the loss of his livelihood. He has not appeared on
Prosecutors claim that Smollett paid
brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to stage the attack.
The brothers testified last week that the actor paid them to carry
out the attack.
Smollett faces six counts of disorderly
conduct, punishable by up to three years in prison.
Webb took over the case after 16 felony
counts of disorderly conduct were initially dropped, sparking
questions as to whether Smollett had received preferential treatment.