Jussie Smollett’s trial began Monday in Chicago, three years after the former Empire star claimed he was the victim of a hate crime.
The jury was selected and opening statements were heard. The trial is expected to last about a week.
According to the Chicago Tribune, special prosecutor Dan Webb said in his opening statement the actor hired two brothers to carry out the bogus attack. “When he reported the fake hate crime that was a real crime,” said Webb.
Jussie’s lawyer Nenye Uche argued that the brothers, who are the prosecutors’ star witnesses, are liars who hated the actor “because of who he is as a person” and were using him to further their own careers.
Smollett faces six counts of disorderly conduct and up to three years in prison if convicted.
The Cook County State’s Attorney dropped the original charges filed against Smollett, and a new indictment was returned in 2020.