Jussie Smollett has testified in court that “there was no hoax” when it came to a racist, homophobic attack he said he was the victim of.
The 39-year-old alleges that he was targeted in Chicago on 29 January 2019 by two assailants who shouted slurs at him.
In court, he stuck with his claim that the attackers shouted a Trump slogan and tied a noose around his neck.
Prosecutors accuse the actor of faking the incident to help his career after being “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire where he was reportedly making $100,000 per episode.
The fallout of the alleged hate crime hoax resulted in him being written out of the show.
The trial, which began in November 2021, saw two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, claim that the Cro star paid them $3,500 (£2,600) to carry out a fake attack on him – something which Smollett firmly rejected.
Instead, he claimed that the cheque was for a meal and workout plan for when he was away travelling.
The actor told jurors: “There was no hoax.”
He also explained that one of the people attacking him was “massive” and wearing a ski mask to disguise their identity.
Due to the alleged use of a racial slur, Smollett said he assumed the man was white.
According to the Chicago Tribune, he was walking home from getting a sandwich at Subway in the early hours of one of the city’s coldest nights of the year when “something out of Looney Tune adventures” happened.
In testimony to the trial’s jury, Smollett said he only “realised that the rope was around my neck” once he got back to his apartment building.
He further explained that he chose not to call the police because “as a black man in America, I don’t trust the police, I’m sorry” and added that he was angry when he discovered his manager had done so.
Should Smollett be convicted, he faces spending three years behind bars – though due to his clean record he is likely to receive a lighter sentence or probation.