After 10 hours of deliberation, a Chicago jury has found actor Jussie Smollett guilty of lying to police about a robbery and staging a hate crime against himself.
He was found guilty on five of six counts for filing a false police report related to the hoax racist attack he suffered at the hands of two men in January 2019. He had been charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
The actor, who is Black and gay, alleged he was attacked, doused with an unknown liquid, had a noose placed around his neck and called a racist, slandered with homophobic slurs, as well as pro-Trump remarks, by two men late at night on a Chicago street.
Days after the trial began on November 29, Smollett told the jury that he had “hesitated to come forward to police at all because of his celebrity and his own mistrust of law enforcement as a Black, gay man, and did not trust the police.”
He has maintained it was not orchestrated by himself, and did not show any reaction as the verdicts were read. He could face up to three years in prison, but unlikely to face a sentence that stiff.
But prosecutors in the case argued that Smollett hired two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to use racist and homophobic slurs against him while wearing red caps similar to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats and to include a rope as a part of the fake attack to “make it look like a hate crime.”
The siblings, acquaintances of Smollett, were reportedly paid $3,500 by him to participate in the false attack.
Smollett took the stand in his own defense and alleged the two brothers were lying when they said during the trial that they were friends of Smollett and had been paid to carry out the attack.
Three years ago, when news off Smollett’s allegations first broke, several lawmakers expressed support for the entertainer, with even Kamalaa Harris, then a Democratic presidential candidate and a California Senator, condemned what she called “an attempted modern-day lynching.” She later said, she was “sad, frustrated, and disappointed” after Chicago police accused Smollett of arranging the attack himself.
Then-President Donald Trump originally called the Smollett attack “horrible,” but by April, mocked the TV star, dubbing him an “actor that nobody ever heard of.”
Hopefully this conviction will bring an end to a case that shocked the country and political world when the “Empire” actor’s false accusations first emerged.