Jussie Smollett found guilty of lying to police about alleged attackget the free app
A jury has found Jussie Smollett guilty on five of six counts of lying to police about an alleged attack he faced in 2019. The 12-person jury deliberated for nine hours before reaching the verdict on Thursday.
Smollett, 39, was convicted of telling two different officers that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on January 29, 2019. The actor was acquitted on one count of disorderly conduct for lying to a separate officer on February 14.
The former "Empire" actor will remain free on bond while he waits to be sentenced, CBS Chicago reported. His convictions are listed as class 4 felonies and he could face up to three years in prison.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, claimed two men beat him, yelled "racist and homophobic slurs," dumped an "unknown chemical substance" on him, and put a noose around his neck while he was walking in the street in 2019.
But police and prosecutors alleged that Smollett paid two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, $3,500 to help him stage the attack. Both brothers testified during the trial that Smollett asked them to carry out a fake attack.
Smollett also took the stand, telling jurors that he and Abel had a sexual relationship before the alleged attack and that his communications with the brothers the night of the attack were about scheduling a personal training session. Abel has denied having a sexual relationship with Smollett.
Smollett also repeatedly denied staging the attack, telling jurors, "There was no hoax."
At closing arguments, prosecutors said they proved Smollett faked the attack with "overwhelming evidence." Prosecutor Dan Webb also told jurors it was "just plain wrong" for Smollett to fake a hate crime.
"To outright denigrate something as serious, as heinous, as a real hate crime — to denigrate it and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have such horrible historical significance in our country," Webb said.
Webb also reiterated his doubts about Smollett's testimony, arguing that he would not have gone out to buy eggs at 2 a.m. on one of the coldest nights of the year and that the Osundairo brothers would not have been able to ambush him unless they knew his exact location. "They knew where he was going to be because they were told where to be," he said.
Smollett's attorneys denied the allegations, arguing that the prosecution's case was "built like a house of cards."
Charlie De Mar contributed reporting.