After just 10 hours of deliberation, a Chicago jury has found actor Jussie Smollett 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.
The former Empire star had claimed two racist supporters of President Trump beat him up, poured bleach on him, called him racist and homophobic slurs, and tied a noose around his neck.
Not long after giving a tear-filled recounting of the alleged crime to ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Smollett’s story fell apart, and police claimed two associates of his admitted the actor paid them to stage the attack.
Prosecutors maintained he paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to “fake beat him up” to raise his profile on Empire. Smollett, who took the stand in his own defense, claimed the attack was real, because the bodybuilding brothers were homophobic.
Smollett was initially charged on Feb. 20, 2019, with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson saying the attack was orchestrated because he was unhappy with his salary on the Fox hit show.
The charges were dropped against Smollett in March 2019, but in February 2020, a special prosecutor announced an indictment for six disorderly conduct charges for allegedly filing a false police report. Smollett pleaded not guilty.
The 39-year-old now faces up to three years in prison, though will likely not receive such a stiff sentence.
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