A Chicago jury of six men and six women has found Jussie Smollett guilty of lying to police about being a victim of a racist, homophobic assault.
At the trial this week, the empire star stood by denials that he staged the hoax attack against himself.
The Prosecutors countered that the 39 year old actor “lied for hours” on the stand. Jussie Smollett was on December 9, 2021 found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct.
Though each count carries a penalty of up to three years in prison, Smollett’s lack of previous convictions might earn him a lighter sentence.
The jury of 12 reached its decision one day after deliberations began. A date is yet to be scheduled for his sentencing.
The incident that led to the trial happened almost three years ago, in January 2019 when Smollett told the police he was a victim of an attack.
According to Smollett, he was set upon by two assailants who shouted slurs, yelled a Trump slogan, dumped a “chemical substance” on him. He added that, they tied a noose around his neck while he was walking late at night in Chicago.
How all the drama happened.
After the report by Smollett to the police, authorities opened an investigation into the allegations. Nearly a month after investigations were opened, the police charged the former empire star with filing a false police report. The police alleged that Smollett had staged the assault.
Smollett faced a total of six charges which he was later found guilty of five by a jury of six men and six women after a deliberations that lasted for a day.
At trials, Abimbola and Olabinjo told the jury that Smollett had planned the attack himself and paid them $3,500 to carry it out.
When Smollett was asked by his defence lawyer if he made payment for the alleged scheme, Smollett replied: “Never”. The actor said the cheque was for a meal and workout plan from Abimbola who is a friend and an extra on the Empire TV drama Show.
The actor was repeatedly asked by the Special Prosecutor Dan Webb about a “hoax” attack. But each time the actor standing trial denied that was the case.
“There was no hoax on my part. Any question you are going to ask about that is going to be denied” Smollett said.
Mr. Webb in his closing arguments said, “Besides being against the law, it is just plain wrong to outright denigrate something as serious as a real hate crime and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have such historical significance in our country,”.
After the verdict was read, Nenye Uche, a lawyer for Smollett said the team, “obviously respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict”. He added that they are confident that the case will be overturned on appeal.