A previously unseen text between Jussie Smollett and Abimbola Osundairo was shown to jurors on day two of Smollet’s trial Tuesday, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The newly surfaced text message was reportedly sent in the afternoon after Smollett’s appearance on “Good Morning America,” on Feb. 14, 2019, and is important in determining whether Smollett attempted to keep the Osundairo brothers from speaking with police. During the 2019 interview, Smollett had backed his prior allegations that two men had assaulted him, tied a rope around his neck and hollered racial and homophobic slurs.
“Brother….I love you,” read the text from Smollett, according to The Chicago Tribune. “I stand with you. I know 1000% you and your brother did nothing wrong and never would. I am making this statement so everyone else knows. They will not get away with this. Please hit me when they let you go. I am behind you fully.”
Authorities had originally thought the Osundairo brothers were the culprits in the alleged attack. However, after receiving the text message from Smollett, the brothers elected to work with the police, thus turning suspicions on Smollett and an alleged orchestrated attack, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The prosecution’s first witness, Chicago Police detective Michael Theis, reportedly testified Tuesday that police eventually “determined that the alleged hate crime was actually a staged event and that it did not occur,” despite authorities viewing Smollett as the victim at the outset.
The former “Empire” star has been charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report to police. He faces up to three years in prison.