Jussie Smollett Judge Denies Motion for Mistrial as Brothers Say He Planned 'Attack'
Defense files motion, judge tosses it after hearing damning evidence
The judge in the trial against disgraced actor Jussie Smollett has denied a motion for a mistrial from the defense.
The ruling came after damning testimonies from brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo who told the court Smollett paid them to "fake beat up" the former "Empire" star.
The Osundairos said Smollett planned the whole "attack" and instructed them to make it look like a "hate crime" carried out by supporters of President Donald Trump.
In its motion for a mistrial, the defense claimed they were not able to properly cross-examine one of the accused Osundairo brothers.
The case seeks to determine whether Smollett, a gay, black man, lied to police.
In 2019, he filed a police report claiming to be the victim of an alleged hate crime attack in Chicago in January of that year.
Prosecutors allege the disgraced actor paid $3,500 to two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage the attack, though Smollett vehemently denies such charges.
On Thursday, Smollett’s attorney, Tamara Walker requested a mistrial over her claims Cook County Judge James Linn of “physically lunged” at her, CBS News reports.
Reports say the encounter happened during a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Judge Linn.
The judge denied the accusations and also denied the motion for a mistrial.
Walker reportedly appeared to be close to tears while debating with the judge and left the courtroom with her mother while the rest of Smollett’s team continued to ask for a mistrial, NY Post reports.
The heated exchange came after cross-examination of Olabinjo Osundairo, who said Jussie Smollett paid him and his brother to stage the hate crime against the Empire star.
During the questioning, the judge called the line of questioning “collateral” in front of the jury, claiming it didn’t have any relevance to the crime Smollett is on trial for.
The judge’s response prompted Walker to ask for a sidebar, but the alleged threat was made during the sidebar.
The state has now rested its case.
After a three-day presentation of evidence, special prosecutor Dan Webb told the presiding judge Thursday evening the prosecution was done.
The defense began its case immediately, calling, among others, an emergency room physician who saw Smollett after the purported attack.
Judge Linn later told jurors he expected they would resume deliberations no later than Tuesday, AP reports.