CHICAGO (AP) — Jussie Smollett is going on trial this week, accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago.
Jury selection for the trial got underway on Monday.
The gay Black actor known for his role on “Empire” told police in January 2019 that two masked men attacked him.
He was charged weeks later with filing a false police report after investigators concluded he had staged the attack.
That case was dropped but later revived when a special prosecutor charged Smollett with disorderly conduct. The actor has pleaded not guilty.
The trial will boil down to the question of whether the jury believes the actor's version of what he says was a racist and homophobic attack, or jurors may believe the two brothers who say they helped the actor fake the incident.
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo admit they took part in the “attack” that made headlines around the world but say Smollett planned the whole thing and paid them to do it.
In a way, the brothers will be on trial as much as Smollett, with pretty much the whole prosecution case hinging on whether jurors believe them, The Associated Press reports.
The trial is expected to last a week.