Written by Staff Writer: CNN
After day six of testimony, the defense has rested its case in the Jussie Smollett trial.
“In the interest of justice, I object to the state calling Mr. Ford to the stand because of the amount of material he provided to this Court,” said defense attorney Tina Glandian.
Glandian has been challenging some of the witnesses on the stand — including Chicago Police Department Detective Guglielmi on Tuesday — asking them about inconsistencies. Ford led the early investigation into Smollett’s accusations that he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago in January.
Ford told the court Tuesday that he gave multiple interviews with the media on behalf of the Chicago Police Department, including to CNN’s Don Lemon, and that he witnessed the “attack” in which Smollett claims occurred.
Smollett’s defense attorneys have hammered the detective on Tuesday, asking him about the inconsistencies in his timeline of events. Glandian has been challenging his testimony, saying that, of the nine allegations in the probable cause document, the police report was the only one Ford had seen to date.
During cross-examination on Tuesday, Ford addressed both whether Smollett said “Donald Trump,” “MAGA” or “Make America Great Again” to him, as he is alleged to have said to the police in a phone call after the alleged attack, and whether Smollett said “kill me” in a phone call to his personal manager, Brandon Z. Moore.
Ford said he could not recall whether he heard “MAGA” or “Donald Trump,” but said there were “no specific incidents” that supported Smollett’s claim that there was a motorcade of white men at around 2 a.m. on January 29 to accost him.
At the same time, Glandian said “the volume of calls” between Smollett and Johnson and Moore represented an ambush on Smollett by Trump supporters, and the defense has positioned the police’s handling of the investigation and the text messages between Smollett and his personal manager as a bias on their part.
Smollett sat alone in the courtroom on Tuesday, wearing a black T-shirt and looking sad. Smollett did not speak or look at his accusers during his testimony, other than a brief glare that he threw at Jason Gutierrez, a friend of Fox News contributor and former police officer Geraldo Rivera. Smollett’s legal team said they will offer the judge a motion to quash Rivera’s testimony that’s part of the effort to exclude Rivera’s testimony. Rivera spoke on camera and addressed Smollett on camera during the “Fox and Friends” show in December 2015.
Butler said Thursday that his testimony could turn into “a deposition,” considering his conversations with police and the attorney for the “Empire” show — executive producer Courtney Kemp as well as Fox Television.
“I thought that it was in the prosecutor’s interest to meet with me in person, including their producers, because I have been involved with Hollywood,” Butler said. “Because there’s a media aspect to my testimony as well as what I’ve been involved with in some way.”
In a statement, Butler told CNN: “Since being on the stand I’ve gone back and forth on where my mind was.”