Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
Jussie Smollett, the actor and singer who is currently on trial for allegedly staging a hate crime hoax against himself, hasn’t done himself a whole lot of favors since taking the stand in his defense.
While he is certainly still presumed innocent of the six counts of disorderly conduct he faces after police say he gave a series of false reports about an attack which prosecutors argue he arranged himself, many of his own words have served to undermine his adamant claim that “there was no hoax.”
Smollett has provided details about the relationship he had with two brothers, Abel and Bola Osundairo, including a sexual relationship that included drug use with the latter. (Bola has denied he and the actor ever had any sexual contact, however.)
The actor described how the brothers procured drugs for him and even discussed buying him a special herbal supplement on an upcoming trip to Nigeria, which is the only plot he claims to have had with the two men.
The Osundairos, however, claim that they were hired by Smollett to stage the fake hate crime, in which he was allegedly assaulted by two men who hurled anti-gay and racist insults at him, placed a noose around his neck and declared the high-end Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago was “MAGA country.”
The fact the Democratic stronghold of Chicago, which hasn’t had a Republican mayor for nigh on a century, is most certainly not “MAGA country” was one of the first indications there was something a bit fishy about Smollett’s story.
Another suspicious aspect of Smollett’s account was the fact that when police arrived to make their report, he was still wearing the noose that the hateful but slightly lost Trump supporters had supposedly placed around his neck.
As you can imagine, this came up while Smollett was on the stand.
What’s more, special prosecutor Dan Webb played security footage of Smollett returning to his apartment after the attack and bodycam footage from the officer who initially responded to his call, which showed a discrepancy in the tightness of the noose around the actor’s neck.
When he first returned to his apartment, the loose hung loosely, but when an officer arrived to take his statement, it sat snugly around his neck.
“Did you want police to see the rope exactly as it was put around your neck?” Webb asked, as Fox News reported.
“I was told to put it back on my neck, so I wouldn’t be messing with evidence,” Smollett said.
However, he went on to admit that “mess with evidence” is exactly what he did, as he seems to have tightened the noose when he placed it back on.
“When did you put the rope back around your neck?” Webb asked.
Smollett replied that he did so when Frank Gatson, his creative director, “told me he called the police and that I should put back all the evidence.”
“Police body cam footage was then shown from when police entered Smollett’s Chicago apartment — in which the rope is visibly shown tightly around Smollett’s neck,” Fox noted.
“The two images of Smollett were then shown side-by-side to show the difference in how tightly the rope was worn by Smollett.”
Gaston asked, “Do you see the difference?”
“Yes,” the defendant replied. “It looks less like a noose when I put it back on … and there’s no reason to make something look less like a noose if you’re trying to create a so-called hoax.”
Now, that doesn’t make much sense. It seems as far as Smollett is concerned, the definition of what makes a noose look noose-like is rather subjective, although it would be rather morbid and distasteful to dig deeper into the comparative tightness of a noose and its likeness to a way of tying a rope that has horrific historical connotations in our nation.
This highlights all the more how absurd it would have been for Smollett to have arranged circumstances in which it appeared that he was subject to what would be a decidedly hateful, racist crime with an almost cartoonish representation of who he thinks hates gay, black men these days.
But I’m sure you’ll agree the evidence is rather overwhelming that, down to the allegation that he used two black men of Nigerian decent to pose as MAGA country racists, Smollett seems to have arranged this very thing.
Of course, whether he did or whether he didn’t is what the jury is currently tasked with deciding.
I think it’s safe to say that, so far, things don’t look great for Smollett.