News & Politics

LOL: Jussie Smollett Back in Court, Maintains Innocence in Hate Crime Hoax

AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Ahh, remember Jussie Smollett? Those were good times, right? In case you forgot, the former Mighty Ducks actor claimed he was assaulted by two white men wearing MAGA hats in an alleged racist and homophobic hate crime.

Well, Smollett was back in court on Wednesday, as the actor faces six counts of felony misconduct for allegedly lying to police about the obviously staged assault.

According to Smollett, on January 29, 2019, he was assaulted by two masked men who hurled racist and homophobic insults at him, beat him, and then put a noose around his neck. Smollett says at least one of his attackers told him he was in “MAGA country.”

The story was absurd, and police officers were reportedly skeptical of it. Eventually, two men, brothers Abel and Ola Osundario, came forward and told police Smollett paid them $3,500 to jump him. The ruse was meant to raise Smollett’s profile because he wasn’t satisfied with his role on the FOX show Empire.

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury in February 2020. This came after previous charges were inexplicably dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Smollett was presumably a free man who didn’t have to pay restitution to the city, which spent $130,000 in overtime on his case. But his initial prosecution was invalidated by a judge.

Related: On the Second Anniversary of Jussie Smollett’s Attack, the Case Remains Unsolved

Smollett pleaded not guilty and insists the brothers are lying. Before entering court, he told Fox News that he was innocent and dismissed the proceedings he was going to partake in as a “dog and pony show.”