Actor Jussie Smollett is currently on trial over accusations he staged a hate crime that involved extensive police resources, but for an incident that prosecutors say was bogus.
According to Chicago station WLS, the jury was selected on Nov. 29, including six men and six women, but only one Black juror. However, so far the racial makeup of the jury is not bringing the attention that it has in other high profile trials involving homicides like Kyle Rittenhouse or the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery.
The case of the former Empire star first began back on Jan. 29, 2019, after allegations that two men assaulted him in a racist and homophobic attack while he was returning home from a sandwich shop in Chicago. Smollett claimed that he was beaten, called racist and homophobic slurs, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him, and had a rope put around his neck.
After accusations that he staged the incident, Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts, but eventually all charges were dropped by District attorney Kim Foxx. However, new disorderly conduct charges were filed a year after the attack. He continues to maintain his innocence.
The prosecution’s first witness in Smollett’s trial was Chicago police detective Michael Theis, who was one of the lead investigators on the case who testified that the actor staged his own attack. He also claimed more than two dozen officers worked the case, spending 3,000 staff hours on the investigation while combing through 1,500 hours of video footage, WLS reports.
Smollett also faces a lawsuit from the City of Chicago. The suit claims that the actor owes the city at least $130,000 to cover the overtime costs for the police while they investigated the alleged incident they say was a hoax.
Smollett’s older brother, Jojo Smollett, said he believes the facts will vindicate his sibling.
"We're confident in his legal team, and we look forward to people hearing the actual facts in this case," he said, according to the news station. "It has been incredibly painful as his family to watch someone you love be accused of something they did not do."