Jussie Smollett takes the witness stand in his own defense

Jussie Smollett has taken the witness stand in his own defense against charges that he arranged a phony hate crime on himself one frigid night in January 2019.

The former “Empire” actor was sworn in just after noon Monday, and at first spoke so quietly that his attorney had to ask him to speak up.

After speaking to jurors about his family life and his history as an entertainer, Smollett’s testimony focused on his time on “Empire,” and his relationship with Abimbola Osundairo, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses.

Osundairo told jurors last week that Smollett recruited him to help orchestrate the phony hate-crime attack.

Smollett met Osundairo at a club during Season 4 of “Empire;” the two men then used cocaine and weed, and went to a bathhouse in Boystown together, where they did more drugs and made out, Smollett said.

“There was some touching,” he said.

Smollett’s testimony could signal an attempt by the defense to suggest the brothers carried out the attack for reasons other than the alleged attempt by the actor to fake it and get the attention of leaders of his television show. On the witness stand last week, Osundairo denied that he and Smollett had ever dated, and said he did not think there was sexual tension between the two men.

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