The opening day of the former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett’s felony trial in Chicago was long and painted two very different scenarios of what actually went down in January 2019.
Citing a “tremendous rush to judgment defense attorney Nenye Uche declared in his opening statement that “Jussie Smollett is a real victim.” That remark in front of a freshly selected and seated jury in the courtroom came on a nearly 11-hour day in what is expected to be a weeklong trial.
Facing half a dozen disorderly conduct counts, Smollett could be heading behind bars for up to three years if found guilty. Even in a case that has seen pretzel like twists, dismissal of the original charges, a slap on the wrist, etc., Smollett will probably not serve any prison time.
Not that the prosecutor was sparing the actor/musician any hard realities even if hard time looks unlikely. Daniel Webb told the jury of eight men and seven women in his own opening statement:
“He devised this fake hate crime to take place so that the Empire studio would take this more seriously because this fake hate crime would get media attention”
The revelation that Smollett paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 just before the attack occurred and the siblings confessing their part in the scheme after hours under interrogation by Chicago police turned a light-handed legal system and public opinion against the actor.
With today going from around 9:30 AM to 7 PM Chicago time, Judge Linn has warned jurors, court officials and flocking media to get used to the long days in what appears to be a pretty obvious attempt to get this wrapped up soon-ish. Like so many cases in America the past 18 months, the trial was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it seems Judge Linn is determined to make up for lost time.