Actor Jussie Smollett Found Guilty of Hate Crime Hoax
23:20 GMT 09.12.2021 (Updated: 23:42 GMT 09.12.2021)
The former "Empire" actor was accused of orchestrating a racist and homophobic attack against himself in January 2019 and of lying to the police.
After two days of deliberation, a jury in Chicago on Thursday finally delivered a verdict on actor Jussie Smollett's staged hate crime case.
The actor, who faced six counts in his case, was found guilty of the first five counts, including disorderly conduct, and acquitted of the last count.
The sixth count was that Smollett told a Chicago PD detective that he had been a victim of an aggravated battery.
The court reportedly decided not to take Smollett into custody, and the post-trial motions are set to begin on January 27.
Over the course of Wednesday and today, the jury of six men and six women deliberated for more than nine hours.
The actor faces up to three years in prison, though with no prior criminal record, and considering that he was not held in contempt by the court during the trial, he is far more likely to receive a probationary sentence, according to reports from the court.
The trial, which began last week, comes from an incident in which Smollett, who is Black and homosexual, claimed two men attacked him outside his Chicago apartment late one night. He informed police that the unknown suspects screamed anti-gay and racist comments at him, threw a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and said, "This is MAGA country."
The case attracted national attention, and many celebrities and politicians condemned the crime, the police threw all their efforts into investigating the incident, but soon discovered that the suspects were the Osundairo brothers, originally from Nigeria, with whom the actor reportedly met on the set of the TV show and later worked out together in the gym.
9 December 2021, 00:10 GMT
The day before the verdict was handed down, the prosecuting attorney called Smollett a "serial liar," noting many inconsistencies in his story, such as that initially, the actor told the police the attackers were "white," but later changed his testimony to describe them as "pale-skinned."
Regardless, Smollett's acting career is virtually ruined as a result of the incident and trial. Despite directing and producing a film, his character was written off "Empire," which ended in 2020, and he has not been seen on screen since.