Actor Jussie Smollett, the one-time star of the TV drama “Empire,” was found guilty on Thursday of staging a hate crime in opposition to himself in what prosecutors stated was a bid to realize sympathy and bolster his profession.
Prosecutors stated Smollett, who’s Black and overtly homosexual, lied to police when he informed them that he was accosted on a darkish Chicago avenue by two masked strangers in January 2019.
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The Cook County Circuit Court jury, which deliberated for 9 hours, found Smollett guilty of 5 of the six felony disorderly conduct counts he confronted, one for every time he was accused of mendacity to police.
Each felony depend carries a most sentence of three years in jail.
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“While it’s certainly possible that he could receive a sentence involving prison time, the much more likely scenario is that he would receive probation with some amount of community service,” former Cook County Prosecutor Eryk Wachnik informed Reuters.
Cook County Judge James Linn didn’t set a date for sentencing, however scheduled a presentencing listening to for Jan. 27.
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Smollett stated the lads threw a noose round his neck and poured chemical substances on him whereas yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressions of assist for former President Donald Trump.
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Police arrested Smollett a month after the alleged assault, saying that he paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the assault in an effort to lift his present-enterprise profile. He finally pleaded not guilty to 6 counts of felony disorderly conduct.
The two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, testified that Smollett paid them to take part in a phony assault and instructed them how one can assault him. During the trial, the actor took the stand and disputed their accounts.
An emergency room physician who handled Smollett on the night time of the assault informed the jury that the actor suffered actual accidents.
2nd brother testifies Jussie Smollett paid for fake hate crime assault
Smollett’s performing profession declined after the incident. He misplaced his function as a singer-songwriter within the remaining season of “Empire,” a Fox tv hip-hop drama that ended a 5-yr run in 2020.
His case took an surprising flip in spring 2019 when the Cook County state’s lawyer’s workplace dropped a 16-depend indictment in opposition to him in alternate for Smollett forfeiting his $10,000 bond with out admitting wrongdoing.
The dismissal drew criticism from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and town’s police superintendent, who referred to as the reversal a miscarriage of justice.
In June 2019, a particular prosecutor was assigned to look at the case. After a 5-month investigation, the particular prosecutor beneficial charging Smollett, once more and a grand jury returned a six-depend felony disorderly conduct indictment
— Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Cynthia Osterman