Actor Jussie SmollettFive counts of disorderly behavior were thrown out for him lying to Chicago Police officers about his alleged victim of homophobic attack and racism in 2019.
After a weeklong trial, the jury deliberated for nine hours in two days.
Smollett’s attorney said he would appeal the conviction, saying the actor was “100% innocent.” A post-trial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27, and his sentencing will be held at a later date.
“We remain confident that we’re going to come back and he’s going to be vindicated,” Nenye Uche, one of Smollett’s lawyers, said.
Dan Webb is the special prosecutor for this case. said the verdict sent “a resounding message by the jury that Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did,” adding that his behavior “wreaked havoc here in the city for weeks on end for no reason whatsoever.”
There is a cap on the charges a winding legal sagaFollowing the Jan 2019 incident that made headlines across America, derailed his career. The initial charges against him for faking an assault were dropped. a special prosecutor was taskedFollowing backlash, we are now investigating the case. Following backlash, the Illinois state filed a six-count Indictment pursuant to its disorderly conduct statute.
Prosecutors argued to jurors this week that there was “overwhelming evidence” Smollett lied to Chicago police, saying he actually orchestrated the assault. Smollett hired the two brothers to attack him and they paid $3,500 for them to wrap a noose around Smollett’s neck.
“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,” Webb told the jury on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
Abimbola Osundairo, an aspiring actor, told the jury that Smollett told him how to punch him, but “not too hard,” so he would give the television star only a “bruise.” Prosecutors argued Smollett, who is Black and gay, was angered at the producers of Fox’s “Empire” over their response to a death threat he got in the mail.
Smollett vehemently denied he was behind the incident, testifying that “there was no hoax” and calling the brothers “liars.” His attorneys said he was the victim of a real attack, saying the brothers were homophobic and crafted a story after Smollett refused to pay them $1 million each after the incident.
These charges can lead to a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment. His sentence will likely be probationary and he must perform community service.