Jussie Smollett trial: Actor found guilty of staging fake hate crime

Jussie Smollett trial: Actor found guilty of staging fake hate crime

By
Brendan O’Brien

Reuters

Posted December 9, 2021 6:08 pm

 
 

Updated December 9, 2021 6:52 pm

1:37
Jussie Smollett trial: Actor takes stand, says ‘there was no hoax’

WATCH ABOVE: Jussie Smollett trial: Actor takes stand, says 'there was no hoax'

Smaller font
Descrease article font size
-A

Larger font
Increase article font size
A+

Actor Jussie Smollett, the one-time star of the TV drama “Empire,” was found guilty on Thursday of staging a hate crime against himself in what prosecutors said was a bid to gain sympathy and bolster his career.

Prosecutors said Smollett, who is Black and openly gay, lied to police when he told them that he was accosted on a dark Chicago street by two masked strangers in January 2019.

Read more:

Jussie Smollett says ‘there was no hoax’ in trial over alleged MAGA attack

The Cook County Circuit Court jury, which deliberated for nine hours, found Smollett guilty of five of the six felony disorderly conduct counts he faced, one for each time he was accused of lying to police.

Each felony count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Story continues below advertisement

0:39
Former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett indicted in Chicago

Former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett indicted in Chicago – Feb 11, 2020

“While it’s certainly possible that he could receive a sentence involving prison time, the much more likely scenario is that he would receive probation with some amount of community service,” former Cook County Prosecutor Eryk Wachnik told Reuters.

Cook County Judge James Linn did not set a date for sentencing, but scheduled a presentencing hearing for Jan. 27.

Trending Stories

Smollett said the men threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressions of support for former President Donald Trump.

0:40
Jussie Smollett trial: Jussie’s brother JoJo speaks outside courtroom as testimony begins

Jussie Smollett trial: Jussie’s brother JoJo speaks outside courtroom as testimony begins – Nov 30, 2021

Police arrested Smollett a month after the alleged assault, saying that he paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in an effort to raise his show-business profile. He eventually pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony disorderly conduct.

Story continues below advertisement

The two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, testified that Smollett paid them to participate in a phony attack and instructed them how to attack him. During the trial, the actor took the stand and disputed their accounts.

An emergency room doctor who treated Smollett on the night of the attack told the jury that the actor suffered real injuries.

Read more:

2nd brother testifies Jussie Smollett paid for fake hate crime attack

Smollett’s acting career declined after the incident. He lost his role as a singer-songwriter in the final season of “Empire,” a Fox television hip-hop drama that ended a five-year run in 2020.

His case took an unexpected turn in spring 2019 when the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped a 16-count indictment against him in exchange for Smollett forfeiting his $10,000 bond without admitting wrongdoing.

The dismissal drew criticism from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent, who called the reversal a miscarriage of justice.

In June 2019, a special prosecutor was assigned to examine the case. After a five-month investigation, the special prosecutor recommended charging Smollett, again and a grand jury returned a six-count felony disorderly conduct indictment

— Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Advertisement

Author Image
Azlyrics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *