Jussie Smollett Asks White Prosecutor ... Don't Say the N-Word!!!

Jussie Smollett interrupted his own courtroom grilling to make an interesting request -- that the prosecutor does not use the n-word in full ... because he found it offensive.

The "Empire" actor stopped prosecutor Dan Webb -- who's white -- during his line of questioning during cross-examination Tuesday, and flat-out asked the guy to stop repeating the slur while quoting messages Jussie had sent to the Osundairo brothers on the day of the alleged attack.

Jussie said in court, "Can you spell or say the n-word out of respect for every African American in this room? You've been saying that word a lot."

Webb made a compromise ... asking that Jussie read the messages himself, which he apparently did. One of the messages Jussie read himself was from Abimbola, which said ... "N**** finally made it just landed haha."

After cross, Jussie stepped down ... and the defense rested its case. Closing arguments are expected to begin tomorrow.

As you know ... Jussie's on trial for allegedly making up the attack he says he fell victim to and faces 6 disorderly conduct charges for what prosecutors say amounted to falsifying police reports. He's denied the allegations and has maintained his innocence throughout.

Jussie Smollett Takes the Stand ... Talks Sexual Relationship with Osundairo Bro

2:06 PM PT -- Finn says Jussie was just asked why he didn't call police immediately following the attack, Jussie replied, "Because I am a black man in America and I do not trust police."

Jussie Smollett just took the stand in his own defense, talking about his career and his sexual encounters with one of the men he says is responsible for attacking him.

Smollett was called as a witness for the defense Monday, and opened up about his family, the loss of his dad and finding success on "Empire." Jussie claimed to have made $25K-$35K per episode on the first season of the FOX show.

Jussie also got into how he met Abel, saying the two met at a gay club one night and went to a Chicago bathhouse where they did drugs, including cocaine and marijuana. During another visit to the bathhouse, Jussie says they made out and masturbated together.

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We had Fox News correspondent Matt Finn on TMZ Live who was inside the courtroom when Jussie took the stand, and gave us a better idea of the actor's mood.

This is the second week of the trial, last week saw testimony from the Osundairo brothers, who Jussie says attacked him. Of course, the Osundairo brothers have maintained Jussie was in on the whole thing, and staged the attack with them for publicity.

Last week, Ola Osundairo fought back against previous claims Jussie had made calling him homophobic. He presented the court with a photo of himself dressed as a Trojan warrior and handing out condoms at a gay pride parade to show he was friendly with the gay community.

In describing the planning of the attack, the brothers testified Smollett originally wanted them to punch him, put a noose around his neck and pour gasoline on him. However, the gasoline was changed to bleach because the brothers felt gasoline could be too dangerous.

Smollett has pled not guilty to 6 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false police report.

Jussie Smollett Trial Osundairo Bro Says He's No Homophobe ... I Worked it at Pride Events, Gay Bars!!!

Jussie Smollett's claim one of the Osundairo bros is homophobic -- and that motivated him to pull off the alleged attack -- is getting shot down in court by the brother himself, who brought Pride pics as evidence.

Ola Osundairo -- one of the prosecution's star witnesses, along with his brother Abel -- testified Thursday in Chicago, saying he respects the gay community and had worked as a bouncer in a gay club called Boystown.

He stopped short of dropping the old "I have gay friends" trope but did say he'd been knee-deep in Pride celebrations. The jury was shown a 2015 photo of one such time -- Ola said he was "handing out condoms and flexing" while dressed as a Trojan warrior.

Get it? Condoms? Trojan? Anyway, there are no cameras in court, so we haven't actually seen the pic in question.

As for Abel Osundairo ... he took the stand and got grilled by Smollett's attorney about his alleged sexual relationship with the "Empire" star. Shay Allen asked when they started dating, and Abel replied they never did. He also denied there being any sexual tension between them, and he only thought of Jussie as a friend.

Jussie Smollett Trial Actor May Have Scored with Jury ... Over Osundairo Drug Testimony

The prosecution's star witnesses in the Jussie Smollett trial may have a credibility problem with one of the Osundairo brothers ... over supplying Jussie with drugs.

Abimbola 'Bola' Osundairo testified he obtained drugs for Smollett, but didn't sell them to him.

The reason this came up during the trial ... back in 2019, texts surfaced between Jussie and one of the brothers about scoring marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. Documents in the case refer to the transaction this way ... "Smollett would request ... weed, molly, or Whitney [slang for cannabis and controlled substances]." The document goes on to say Jussie used PayPal and Venmo to pay for the drug transactions. And, the document suggests Jussie tried to cover the drug deal by saying payment was for personal training.

Well, Bola testified that yes, he did supply Jussie with drugs, but added, "I'm not a drug dealer. I don't sell."

It's too early to know how this develops ... but jurors may find it hard to swallow Bola's testimony ... that a couple of trainers who have bit parts in a TV show would dig deep into their pockets to pay for the drugs of a wealthy actor. If the jury has issues with this, it could impact the brothers' credibility, which could create the reasonable doubt necessary to acquit Jussie.

The brothers were in court Thursday ... before entering the building they were seen praying together.

Vivica A. Fox I Ride with Jussie Smollett!!!

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Vivica A. Fox is a ride or die friend, because she made it clear Tuesday night ... she stands by Jussie Smollett in bad times as well as good.

Vivica was at the TCL Chinese Theatre for the premiere of her movie, "True to the Game 3." Our photog asked about her ties with Jussie, and Vivica showed Smollett mad love.

What's interesting ... she never said if she believed he was actually attacked on the streets of Chicago back in 2019. Clearly, prosecutors don't believe him, because he's currently on trial for allegedly staging the incident. He's charged with 6 felonies and could be sent to prison for years if convicted.

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A jury has been selected and testimony has begun. It's unclear if Jussie will take the stand in his own defense. Typically, defendants in criminal cases stay mum, but this case almost demands Jussie tell the jury his version of what happened.

It seems the jury's verdict will be irrelevant to Vivica. She not only supports her former "Empire" co-star -- she wants to do a project with him in the future.

Jussie Smollett Chicago Trial Finally Begins For Alleged Hoax Attack

WALKING INTO COURT
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Jussie Smollett's back in Chicago, finally standing trial for allegedly staging the racist and homophobic attack he reported to cops ... and he's brought lots of backup.

The actor was greeted by a huge crowd of reporters and photographers on his way into the courthouse Monday morning. Jussie was flanked by 7 family members, including his sister Jurnee Smollett, as he strode in to face charges of felony disorderly conduct over the alleged January 2019 attack.

A grand jury indicted Smollett last year on six counts -- all related to lying to cops about the incident -- and he's pled not guilty to all the charges.

This is take 2 for Chicago in prosecuting Smollett for allegedly lying. He'd originally been hit with 16 charges, but the prosecutor's office unexpectedly dropped all of them back in March 2019.

A special prosecutor then presented the case to a grand jury ... resulting in the 6 new charges.

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You'll recall, Jussie originally said 2 white men had attacked him at 2 AM on a brutally cold night ... hurling homophobic and racist slurs and, pouring what he believed to be bleach, all over him. He also claimed they'd yelled, "This is MAGA country" at him and left a rope around his neck.

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However, Abel and Ola Osundairo eventually came forward and claimed the whole thing was staged.

The brothers, who are definitely NOT white, told cops Jussie paid them to pull off the fake attack ... which pissed off Chicago PD and led to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx bringing the original charges.

The Osundairo brothers are expected to testify during Jussie's new trial.

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Now, as jury selection finally begins -- the trial was delayed due to the pandemic -- Smollett faces a possible maximum sentence of 3 years in prison, if he's convicted on all 6 charges.

Jussie Smollett Finally Heading to Trial ... Over Alleged Chicago Attack

Jussie Smollett is going to have to face the music after claiming he was attacked by racist, homophobic MAGA supporters -- and the City of Chicago's claim he made it all up.

The former "Empire" actor is heading to trial next month -- this after a Cook County judge shot down JS's final attempt to have the criminal case against him tossed ... setting the stage for Jussie to face a jury of his peers over the 2019 incident.

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Smollett's attorney tried convincing the court that his client's rights were being violated, seeing how the guy had already forfeited his $10,000 bond and done community service ... which served as the terms he struck with Cook County prosecutors to have the charges dismissed.

Per reports, the attorney noted Smollett had held up his end of the bargain, saying ... "A deal is a deal. That's ancient principle." Not so, according to the judge -- who noted a new set of circumstances arose when a special prosecutor reopened the case ... and charged Jussie anew.

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Because of that, the judge said he wouldn't tamper with the new case. As you know, Jussie faces charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying in the police reports about what happened to him.

As we've reported ... Jussie claimed he was jumped by two white males wearing red MAGA hats, who hurled racist and homophobic epithets at him ... poured bleach on him ... and then threw a noose around his neck. Jussie kept that noose on until cops arrived and got his story -- an interaction that their body cameras captured upon entering his Chicago apartment.

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As the initial investigation unfolded, police say they found that his so-called attackers weren't white at all -- they were two Black men, the Osundairo brothers, whom knew Jussie well from working on "Empire" ... and who confessed to staging the whole thing at Jussie's behest.

There's footage of the guys buying the supplies they used that night ... and even walking past Jussie at one point on the streets. The brothers claim Jussie paid them to set up the entire attack ... something he's denied entirely at every turn, defiant to prove his innocence.

Well, he's gonna have that chance now in front of 12 men and women. Jury selection starts after Thanksgiving.

'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray Pleads Guilty in Felony Dom. Violence Case Must Do Jail Time

Bryshere Gray -- known for his role as Hakeem Lyon on "Empire" -- has entered a guilty plea in his domestic violence case ... and he'll have to spend some time behind bars.

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Gray pled guilty to felony aggravated assault and, as part of his plea agreement, he's been sentenced to 10 days in county jail and 3 years probation.

As part of the deal ... Gray has also been ordered to pay restitution. He must also enroll in a domestic violence offender treatment program.

During his probation, Gray won't be allowed to consume any illegal drugs and he'll also have to submit to drug and alcohol testing. He's gotta stay out of trouble ... and he can't possess any stun guns, Tasers or any other kind of firearm.

He also must check in with his probation officer within 72 hours of being contacted by law enforcement and he needs written approval from police before associating with anyone who has a criminal record.

As we reported ... Gray was busted back in July following a standoff with SWAT at his home just outside of Phoenix. His wife flagged down a Good Samaritan and alleged Gray assaulted for several hours at their home.

Terrence Howard Sues 20th Century Fox Pimped 'Empire' With My 'Hustle & Flow'

Terrence Howard claims he's getting hustled because 20th Century Fox is using his likeness from "Hustle & Flow" to promote "Empire" ... so now he's suing the studio.

Terrence -- who played Lucious Lyon on all 6 seasons of "Empire" -- just filed a lawsuit claiming 20th Century Fox gave him the runaround when asked how it came up with the "Empire" logo ... since he never sat down for a photoshoot.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Terrence says he ultimately determined the image was taken from the "Hustle & Flow" scene where "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is being recorded in a studio.

According to the docs ... Terrence says "the still frame was selected, reversed (face looking left, not right), and subjected to CGI that simply distilled the cinematographer’s skilled capture of the head with vibrant light and shadow” to make the 'Empire' logo.

Terrence is upset because he says he would have gotten paid by Paramount -- the studio behind "Hustle & Flow" -- if 20th Century Fox got a proper license to use his image from the movie. He's suing for damages and wants an accounting of all the Empire merch using the logo.

We've reached out to 20th Century Fox for comment, so far no word back.

Jussie Smollett Doubles Down on Innocence ... Claims Witnesses, Video Can Prove It

I'M STILL INNOCENT
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Jussie Smollett still insists the alleged assault he suffered in January 2019 is not a hoax, but now says there's evidence to back it up ... and suggests there are forces working against him to keep the truth hidden.

The former "Empire" star opened up about the infamous "hate crime" that went down in Chicago -- more than a year and a half ago -- in a rare interview, because he's over staying quiet about the case.

Jussie tells activist Marc Lamont Hill he doesn't believe the City of Chicago or law enforcement will ever stop going after him, and he believes they are trying to make an example out of him ... even though he claims he didn't do what he's accused of doing.

Smollett blasts police for focusing on winning the case instead of trying to solve it based on truth, and hints there may be a conspiracy against him because of that. As he puts it -- law enforcement is willing to throw people under the bus, get people to lie, and switch the narrative based on their agenda.

As for the lack of video evidence of Jussie being attacked ... he claims it's out there. He also says there are 2 witnesses who can corroborate his story of seeing 2 white men -- one of them carrying a rope -- before he was attacked.

Smollett says this evidence has been buried by a bunch of lies and misleading information, but there's more. Jussie claims there's a tape that shows the action leading up to his alleged assault, but it cuts off right before it happens.

He doesn't say outright who may have doctored the tape, but strongly implies the Chicago PD may have had a hand in it.

To sum it all up ... Smollett says he now realizes he was set up from the beginning to look like he was lying, and he thinks it has something to do with "the MAGA of it all."

It seems Jussie believes if his alleged attackers hadn't yelled something suggesting they were Trump supporters, things would be different ... but he concedes he doesn't know that for sure.

What he does know for sure is he's done trying to convince people ... and the truth will eventually come out.

We broke the story ... on Wednesday, the City of Chicago requested the FBI hand over its records about the Bureau's probe into the "hate crime" and what may have led up to it.

So Jussie's right ... this case isn't going away anytime soon.

Jussie Smollet FBI Investigation Comes Up Again ... Chicago Wants the Records

The City of Chicago wants a judge to force the FBI to hand over records of the Bureau's probe into the Jussie Smollett case -- especially his claim he was the target of a racist and homophobic threat before the infamous alleged attack.

According to new docs, obtained by TMZ, the City wants to know what the FBI dug up related to a letter that was sent to Fox Studios in Chicago on January 22, 2019 -- a week before Jussie claims he was attacked. The letter contained an "unknown substance" and contained "racist and homophobic imagery and slurs" ... according to Jussie.

The City also wants the FBI records about the "attack" itself ... according to the docs. Basically, Chi-town officials want to know if the FBI uncovered any evidence about Jussie faking the threatening letter or his "attack."

What's interesting here is the docs show the FBI told the City disclosing any of the requested material would "reveal information acquired as part of an ongoing criminal investigation."

Bottom line is ... as of now the FBI is refusing to hand over its investigation results because it still hasn't closed the case.

You'll recall ... in the aftermath of Jussie's "attack," President Trump mentioned the FBI was looking into the situation.

The correspondence between the City and the FBI is part of the civil suit Chicago filed against Jussie for allegedly faking the attack. The goal is to force him to pay for the cost of its investigation -- and it's separate from the new criminal charges filed by the special prosecutor.

Osundairo Bros. Get Stuff Back from Jussie Case ... But Not Ski Mask and Hat

Jussie Smollett's alleged "attackers" picked up some of their possessions seized by cops over a year ago -- including a large gun -- but the judge said they still gotta wait for a couple more infamous items.

Abel and Ola Osundairo were granted permission by the court to get back many of their belongings no longer considered to be pertinent to Jussie's case ... including a shotgun, a safe, household supplies and their clothes.

However, according to legal docs ... authorities are still holding several items connected to the 2019 alleged fake attack on Smollett -- most notably a black face mask and a red hat.

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As you'll recall, the brothers were seen on security footage buying some of the items the day before the "attack" on Jussie.

The brothers' attorney, Gloria Rodriguez, says they both went to the Chicago PD evidence pickup spot earlier this month to get their stuff ... but left with less than they thought they'd get.

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As you can see ... Abel's carrying 2 gun cases, but we're told one is empty. That's because, according to Rodriguez, another shotgun was misclassified in the paperwork, but they hope to get that back soon.

Also, Rodriguez says there's a third firearm -- a 9MM -- the cops kept because it was in the brothers' safe. According to the legal docs, prosecutors and Jussie's defense are allowed to review the contents of the safe before they go back to Abel and Ola. The brothers did already get back the actual safe.

We're told Smollett's camp has not been given a chance yet to review the remaining safe items for his upcoming criminal trial.

As we've reported ... Jussie's still facing 6 felony counts for allegedly lying to cops.

'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray Arrested for Domestic Violence ... After Standoff with Cops

Bryshere Gray -- famous for playing Hakeem Lyon on "Empire" -- has been busted in Arizona for domestic violence.

We've learned Bryshere was arrested early Monday morning in Goodyear, just outside Phoenix, after a standoff with a SWAT team and crisis negotiators, and he allegedly beat the hell outta his wife ... according to cops.

Goodyear PD says officers responded to a call to assist a woman at 10:15 PM Sunday night at a Circle K. Police and say the woman flagged down a good Samaritan for help and claimed her husband, Bryshere, assaulted her for several hours at their home.

Police say Bryshere's wife had numerous visible injuries on her body, and cops say she claimed Bryshere strangled her and she temporarily lost consciousness during the alleged assault.

While Bryshere's wife was being taken to a nearby hospital, cops say they went to the couple's home to try to contact the actor, but police say he refused to leave the home and barricaded himself inside.

After a SWAT team and crisis negotiators arrived, cops say the standoff finally ended around 7 AM when Bryshere surrendered to officers in front of his home.

Bryshere was taken into custody and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on 3 charges -- felony aggravated assault (strangulation), misdemeanor assault (domestic violence), and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Bryshere's wife was treated for her injuries and released from the hospital, according to police.

We reached out to Bryshere's camp ... so far, no word back.

Jussie Smollett 'Attacker' Abel Wants Cops to Return His Stuff ... Used in Alleged Attack?!?

One of Jussie Smollett's alleged attackers wants some personal belongings back from Chicago PD ... including some stuff that sounds like the exact items used that infamous night.

According to court docs, obtained by TMZ, Abel Osundairo had a number of personal items seized in February 2019 when cops executed a search warrant at his home ... and now he wants them returned.

Some of the seized items Abel wants are pretty interesting, because, if you've followed the case, this will sound familiar -- a black ski mask and a red hat. Yep, just a couple of the things Abel and his brother, Ola, allegedly bought and used on Jussie.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
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You'll recall ... surveillance video days before the "attack" showed the Osundairos buying the gear. Remember, Jussie said his attackers were wearing ski masks, and cops seized red hats when they raided the brothers' residence.

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Abel, who was released from custody without any charges being filed against him, also wants police to hand over a script from "Empire" recovered from his place. He and Ola had been extras on Jussie's hit show.

Other notable items Abel wants returned include 2 firearms, 2 iPhones and 5 bottles of bleach -- relevant, of course, to the alleged attack.

In the new docs, Abel's lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, says her client's "been patient but has now been deprived of his personal property for over a year and there exists no good cause for any further delay in returning his items to him."

Abel's gonna have to wait a little longer for a final decision. A judge is giving the special prosecutor in Jussie's case at least another week to figure out if handing over the stuff would prejudice the case in any way.

Jussie Smollett Yes, I'll Take a Hike ... Taraji's Still with Me!!!

Jussie Smollett isn't out of the metaphorical woods regarding his alleged hoax "attack" in Chicago, but he's heading into actual woods for a hike with an old friend.

The ex-"Empire" star ventured out Wednesday morning in L.A. with Taraji P. Henson and his sister, Jurnee Smollett. It was kinda hard for the trio to keep a low profile with Taraji's bright red hair. She's been rockin' that 'do recently.

Anyway, all three looked pretty chummy as they walked the hiking path, and kept things Fauci-friendly during the trek with their face coverings.

If you're doing a double-take at seeing Taraji with Jussie -- who was written out of the show in 2019 -- you shouldn't be. TPH has been very vocal in her continued support for him ... even after show execs gave him the heave-ho.

Sure, he's still fighting the City of Chicago in a civil case, as well as Cook County in another criminal case after a special prosecutor re-charged him. But, Jussie's got himself a ride or die in Taraji, who played his TV mom.

Those Lyons stick together.

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