The jury of six men and six women deliberated for more than two hours to finalize court proceedings Wednesday and is due to return by 9:15 a.m. CT.
The trial stems from Smollett’s alleged actions near downtown Chicago in January 2019, when he told authorities that two men assaulted him and tied a rope around his neck. Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was subjected to racist and homophobic insults during the attack, including the hearing: “This is MAGA country.”
“They are criminals. They are the worst kind of criminals,” Uche told the jury.
However, prosecutors say that during the investigation, it became clear to authorities that the reported hate crime was actually a hoax. During closing arguments Wednesday, Special Counsel Dan Webb accused Smollett of lying in court and claimed he lacked credibility in the entire case.
“You put your common sense and intelligence on the jury box,” Webb began. “Without a doubt, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we accused him of.”
Several pieces of evidence validate his case, says prosecution
The first was withholding medical, DNA and cell phone evidence from police. “Heavily censored” cell phone records were produced for jurors, showing no phone calls to Bola Osundairo, although Webb noted that in the four to five days prior to the alleged attack there were five phone calls, 40 text messages, and nine Instagram direct messages. .
“Mr. Smollett did not want the crime solved,” Webb told the jury. “I wanted the media exposure, but I didn’t want the brothers arrested.”
Second, Webb accused Smollett of misleading police about the race of the attackers, saying he “wants the police to look for someone White.” The Osundairo brothers are black. Smollett said during testimony that he was never sure the perpetrators were white, but “assumed” and was “sure” he was saying they had pale skin from the start.
The third piece of evidence Webb noted was “tampering with the rope” that was seen around Smollett’s neck early in the morning of the alleged attack, first on the surveillance camera when the actor initially returned to his apartment and second on the body camera when he arrived. police. .
Initially it was “exactly the way Ola told them (jurors) he left it,” but then, Webb said, Smollett “fiddled” with the rope, amid the groans of the Smollett family as almost everyone shook their heads.
Smollett had testified that he took off the rope and sweater at one point, but then put them back on for police to see when they arrived.
The fourth piece that Webb emphasized was that the Osundairo brothers could not have attacked Smollett without prior knowledge. He also criticized Smollett’s statements that he went to a grocery store at “2 am in the middle of the polar vortex in this comfortable condo.”
The final pieces of the prosecution’s argument included medical evidence that there were no serious injuries, a police interview in February 2019, and a text message to Bola Osundairo.
Webb told jurors that Smollett wanted the brothers to know that he was going to keep his mouth shut, in the hope that they, too, would keep their mouths shut, and no one would know.
“I was hoping the Osundairo brothers would not cooperate with the police,” Webb said. “He was exposed, and now we are in a trial. That is what happened.”
Defense Says Prosecutors Failed to Defend Their Case
Referring to testimony given by Smollett’s publicist Pamela Sharp earlier in the trial, and the $ 3,500 Smollett had paid her, Uche said that it was normal for celebrities to pay large sums of money for services.
“So Pam Sharp is also planning a hoax with Mr. Smollett? Ridiculous!” Uche told the jury.
The attorney said detectives assigned to the case did not conduct a full and thorough investigation, and that Smollett was telling the truth about going out and looking for food.
Uche described Smollett as someone who came to appreciate the city of Chicago and not someone who would perpetrate the crime he is accused of committing.
“Go to Obama town and pretend there are Trump sympathizers running around in MAGA hats? Give me a break,” Uche said.
Saying that he needed the jury to be his “constitutional warriors,” Uche urged them not to try to act like investigators when deliberating, but to simply ask whether the prosecution had met its burden of proof. He told them not to act like “Sherlock Holmes” when they came to their verdict.
CNN’s Omar Jiménez, Bill Kirkos and Ashley Killough reported from Chicago, wrote Travis Caldwell from Atlanta. Eric Levenson and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.