American actor, Jussie Smollett, known popularly for his major role in ‘Empire’, the movie, has been found guilty of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct.
Jussie Smollett is convicted of orchestrating a fake racist and homophobic attack, and faces up to 20 years in jail for staging the attack and concocting a ‘ridiculous story’ with the help of two Nigerian brothers to boost his career.
In 2019, Smollett told three different officers that he’d been beaten and was the victim of a hate crime. Smollett had maintained his innocence throughout, insisting he did not stage the attack as the Osundairo brothers claim. He said he was the victim and that he had nothing to do with orchestrating it, while the brothers claimed he’d set it up so they would rough him up but not hurt him severely.
The jury began deliberating on Wednesday. They were tasked with deciding if Smollett lied when he told three different officers that he’d been beaten and was the victim of a hate crime.
Smollett was tried on six counts of disorderly conduct on accusations he lied to police in January 2019 and each of the level four felony counts carries a sentence of up to four years behind bars.
Count 1 – GUILTY
This count accuses him of telling responding Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig at around 2:45am, some 45 minutes after the purported attack, that he was the victim of a hate crime. He said two attackers put a rope around his neck.
Count 2 – GUILTY
This refers to Smollett telling the same officer he was a victim of a battery, describing attackers beating and pouring bleach on him.
Counts 3 and 4 – GUILTY
These are when Smollett made the same claims but to a different officer, Kimberly Murray, later that morning, at just before 6am.
Count 5 – Guilty
This accuses Smollett of again telling Murray at around 7:15 p.m. that he was the victim of a battery.
Count 6 – NOT GUILTY
This refers to Smollett reporting on February 14, 2019, to detective Robert Graves that he’d been a victim of an aggravated battery.After the verdict, the special prosecutor, Dan Webb said,
“For Mr Smollett to get up and lie for hours and hours, that really compounded his misconduct”.
Webb reminded journalists that 26 police officers spent 3,000 hours probing the fake attack against Smollett in a bid to help the disgraced actor find the people who he falsely claimed attacked him.
Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, said
“We respect the judiciary, the trial by jury process, we’re obviously very disappointed. We obviously respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict.
The verdict is inconsistent. You cannot say that Jussie is lying and Jussie is not lying for the same exact incidents. So we feel 100 per cent confident that this case will be won on appeal. Unfortunately that’s not the route we wanted, but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win”.
Linn ordered a pre-sentence investigation and agreed Smollett should remain on bond. He is set to be freed on bail until his sentencing.
News link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10293113/amp/Jussie-Smollett-jury-reaches-verdict-Actor-returns-court.html