Jussie Smollett Initially Uncooperative, Upset Camera Didn't Record Attack: Detective

A Chicago police detective testified in Jussie Smollett's trial Wednesday that the former "Empire" actor appeared "upset" when he was informed that a surveillance camera did not record his alleged attack in 2019, the Associated Press reported. Kimberly Murray, the detective, also said that Smollett was initially uncooperative when she interviewed him, including refusing to give medical records or a DNA swab.

Smollett reported in January 2019 that he was the victim of a targeted racist and homophobic attack by two men in downtown Chicago, but prosecutors allege that he staged the assault. He is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct, one count for each instance in which he gave an allegedly false report to three different officers, the AP reported.

Smollett could potentially be sentenced to up to three years in prison if convicted, though experts believe he would more likely be given probation and a community service order.

Murray said that Smollett appeared troubled when she explained to him that a nearby pod surveillance camera was pointed away from the scene of the alleged attack and that a cover on the device made it impossible to know which way it was facing, according to the AP.

Smollett also told her that he received a threatening phone call days before, but he would not hand over his cellphone for inspection even though it could have helped in the investigation, Murray said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Smollett Trial
A Chicago police detective testified in Jussie Smollett’s trial Wednesday that the former “Empire” actor appeared upset when he was informed that a surveillance camera did not record his alleged attack in January 2019. Smollett, center, arrives with his mother Janet, left, and other family members at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for day three of his trial in Chicago on December 1, 2021. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

A Chicago police officer testified Tuesday that investigators tracked down two possible suspects in the assault—brothers who also worked on the "Empire" set in Chicago—using surveillance video and taxi and rideshare records. When taken into custody, they detailed for police how Smollett orchestrated the fake attack, including buying supplies and doing a "dry run" with them.

A detective, who interviewed Smollett two weeks after the alleged assault — and after the brothers, who are Black, had been taken into custody — said Smollett started to change his story. Smollett told Chicago Police Department Detective Robert Graves his attacker had "pale skin," when he previously said he was white. When Graves confronted Smollett about the discrepancy, Smollett said the attacker "acted like he was white by what he said."

Graves also told Smollett the two brothers, Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo, were in custody for the hate crime.

"He said 'It can't be them, they're black as sin,'" Graves recounted, saying he took that to mean the brothers' skin is very dark.

Graves testified that during the February 14 interview, Smollett said he would sign a complaint against the brothers, though his attorney stopped him from doing so. About 90 minutes later, Smollett sent one of the brothers a text message, Graves said.

"Brother... I love you. I stand with you," the message read. "I know 1000% you and your brother did nothing wrong and never would. I am making a statement so everyone else knows. They will not get away with this. Please hit me when they let you go. I'm behind you fully."

Graves said he concluded Smollett had lied to him.

Defense attorney Nenye Uche has said the brothers attacked Smollett, who is Black and gay "because of who he is" and suggested Tuesday that the brothers were homophobic.

After their arrest, the Osundairo brothers told police Smollett asked them to stage the attack because he was unhappy about how the TV studio handled hate mail he had received, a lead detective on the case, Michael Theis, testified Tuesday. He said investigators corroborated their version of events using GPS, cellphone records and video evidence and found no instance where they concluded the men were lying.

Jurors were shown surveillance video Tuesday of the brothers buying supplies, including a red hat they told police Smollett wanted them to wear to resemble supporters of then-President Donald Trump, and a piece of clothesline police said was later fashioned into the noose. Jurors also saw a still image from a video that Theis said showed Smollett returning home the night of the alleged attack, with the clothesline draped around his shoulders. The clothesline was wrapped around his neck when officers arrived, Theis said, leading detectives to believe Smollett may have retied it.

Uche has portrayed the Osundairo brothers as unreliable and said when police searched their home they found heroin and guns. The brothers will testify at trial, but it's unknown if Smollett will.

Uche also sought to discredit the police investigation, suggesting detectives ignored possible leads. And he said a $3,500 check the actor paid the brothers was for personal training so he could prepare for an upcoming music video, not for carrying out the hoax, as prosecutors allege. Theis said the memo on the check said it was for "nutrition" and "training."

Jussie Smollett Trial
Actor Jussie Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago. Abimbola "Able" Osundairo heads to a courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, where he is expected to testify in the trial of Smollett, Dec. 1, 2021. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo