EMPIRE actor Jussie Smollett is on trial after he was accused by Chicago Police of paying two men to attack him in a bid to boost his career.
The court hearing, where the TV star will face the reinstated charges started on Monday, November 29, 2021. Here are some of the key details.
Why is Jussie Smollett on trial?
In February 2020, a special Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment accusing Jussie Smollett of lying to Chicago Police.
It came a year after the same charges had been dropped by authorities as the actor signalled his plans to sue.
Smollett has always maintained his innocence to the new indictment, pleading not guilty.
The charges were reinstituted after a special prosecutor was assigned to look into the entire case – after a judge found “unprecedented irregularities” in how Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx handled the case.
FOX News caught up with Smollett moments before entering the courthouse, referring to the proceedings he was about to participate in as a "dog and pony show."
At the time of the alleged beatdown, Smollett, told police that two masked men attacked him as he walked home in the early hours of January 29, 2019.
Smollett said the men made racist and homophobic insults, beat him, and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.
The disgraced actor also insisted that at least one of his attackers was a white man.
However, brothers Abel and Ola Osundario came forward soon after and told police that the actor had paid them $3,500 to jump him on a Chicago street to raise his profile because he was unhappy with his role on Empire.
The two brothers were associated with the FOX series, which is how Smollett was familiar with them.
The actor has denied Abel and Ola's allegations, claiming the brothers are not telling the truth.
How many years does Jussie Smollett face in prison?
When the case first came to light in 2019, it was reported that Smollett could face up to three years in prison if convicted under Illinois law.
Cops had first raised concerns over the gay black actor's story after the actor refused to hand over his phone to detectives and took offensive to camera recordings from Police interviews.
In March 2019, Chicago Police initially announced Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct after filing a false police report.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter: "Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report.
"Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."
Guglielmi added: "Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives."
The actor’s trial on the renewed charges started on November 29, 2021.
Judge James Linn said during an October hearing no cameras will be allowed in court.
On the same day, attorneys for the actor made a final attempt to have the case dismissed but the judge denied the motion.
Is Jussie Smollett married and does he have children?
Jussie came out as gay in March 2015 during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and is not believed to be married.
At the time, the actor explained: “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in.
“It was a bigger deal to everyone than it was for me. But at the same time I do understand why it is something to talk about.”
Since coming out, Jussie has tended to keep his romantic life private.
Previously the actor has been linked with businessman Tawan Davis and Rafael de la Fuente, according to Showbiz Cheatsheet.
But in 2018, Jussie confirmed to Page Six that he was “happily in a relationship”, though never disclosed who his partner was at the time.
He is also not believed to have any kids.
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