Jussie Smollett, an actor, was found guilty on five of six felony charges of disorderly conduct on Thursday for falsely reporting to Chicago police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019 — an incident that prosecutors said he manufactured.
Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, the jury of six men and six women debated for more than nine hours.
Actor Jussie Smollett found guilty of lying to police in hate crime hoax
After the decision was read in court late in the afternoon, Smollett, dressed in a suit and tie, seemed stiff. He remained still, his gaze fixed on the horizon. His hands were on the table, and his fingers were interlocked. Instead of looking at his family or the judge, he fixed his gaze on the jury.
A false crime report charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a $25,000 fine. At a later point, Cook County Judge James Linn will have the ability to impose a concurrent or consecutive sentence for each offense.
Dan Webb, the special prosecutor, said he was proud of the jury during a press conference.
“Unless the jury concluded that Mr. Jussie Smollett lied to them, he would not have lost this case as he did today,” he added. “It seems that the fact that he concocted a wholly ludicrous tale to justify his wrongdoing had no bearing on the jury’s decision.”
Webb said he couldn’t say if Smollett will face further perjury charges as a result of his trial testimony, but that persons who are convicted of a crime aren’t usually charged with perjury.
On the day of the incident, Smollett was found guilty of disorderly conduct for filing false reports to Chicago police officer Muhammad Baig and Detective Kimberly Murray. Weeks after the claimed incident, he was acquitted of filing a fake complaint to another Chicago detective.
Nenye Uche, a defense attorney, called the finding inconclusive, saying the jury couldn’t determine Smollett lied in five of the six occasions but couldn’t in the sixth.
The defense team, according to Uche, will file an appeal.
“What occurred is extremely upsetting,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “But we’re still optimistic that we’ll be able to recover and that he’ll be vindicated.”
Jussie Smollett , according to Uche, was dissatisfied.
Jurnee Smollett, the former “Empire” actor’s sister, was the first to hug him as jurors were dismissed and the courtroom started to empty. Soon after, he came up to his mother and embraced her tightly.
He walked out of court without answering any questions.
For post-trial motions, the next court hearing is January 27.
Smollett staged the assault, according to the brothers.
Jussie Smollett , who is Black and homosexual, informed police on January 29, 2019, that he had been the victim of a racial and homophobic assault near his Chicago residence early that morning.
Following the news, numerous celebrities, politicians, and advocacy organizations rushed to support the 39-year-old actor, who said the suspected assailants accosted him around 2 a.m. as he walked back from a Subway sandwich restaurant, according to police.
The event was first investigated as a suspected hate crime by Chicago police, however it was soon revealed that the actor planned the incident. They claim he bribed two brothers from the TV program “Empire” to fabricate the incident for publicity purposes. Smollett said he paid the brothers for dietary and workout guidance.
On December 9, 2021, Jussie Smollett appears to the Chicago courts.
Bola and Ola Osundairo, brothers, were two of the prosecution’s seven witnesses. Smollett instructed and paid the brothers to orchestrate the incident in order to get media attention, according to the brothers.
They said they fake punched him, threw bleach on him, hung him from a rope, and yelled racial and homophobic obscenities because he commanded them to.
“Who was in charge of this?” says the narrator. Webb enquired.
Bola Osundairo informed the jurors, “Jussie was.”
Smollett “had this insane concept of having two MAGA fans assault him,” Ola Osundairo told jurors, and he wanted “to post it on social media.”
“This is MAGA country,” one of the guys allegedly screamed after the assault, according to Smollett.
Seven witnesses were summoned to testify by defense counsel, including Smollett himself.
He put forth his account of the occurrence over the course of eight hours on Monday and Tuesday, attempting to throw doubt on the brothers’ genuine objectives and explaining his hatred of police.
One of his lawyers said, “Have you ever planned a hoax?”
“Never in my life,” Jussie Smollett said emphatically.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, Uche said that the Osundairo brothers were solely concerned in their own fame and attention and were lying in court about Smollett.
Uche told jurors, “They’re the worst kind of criminals.”
The Osundairos, according to their attorney Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, were overjoyed with the ruling.
She pleaded with Smollett, whom she described as friendly and giving, to change his ways “It’s time to put a stop to it. Just be honest with yourself.”
In remarks intended at the actor, she remarked, “People will forgive you.”
The brothers will address the findings when they are ready, according to the attorney.
While his brother fights in a boxing contest in Louisiana, Ola Osundairo attended the judgment reading.
The original charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett.
Jussie Smollett was first charged with 16 counts of criminal disorderly behavior in March 2019. But weeks later, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dismissed the charges, claiming he completed community service, forfeited his $10,000 bail, and posed no threat to the community. He has also never been convicted of a crime before.
Soon after his arrest, Smollett’s character was written off of “Empire,” which concluded in 2020, and he has not been on screen since. He has subsequently directed and produced a film, but he has not featured on television again.
After a discussion about whether Smollett got preferential treatment from the state’s attorney’s office, he was charged on fresh counts in February 2020 by a special prosecutor.
Smollett is still facing a civil lawsuit from the city, which seeks $130,106.15 in damages for the costs of investigating his alleged assault. In November 2019, he filed a countersuit, which was later rejected.
According to a statement released by city authorities on Thursday, they will continue to pursue “holding Jussie Smollett responsible for his criminal activities.”
Source of news (CNN)
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