Jussie Smollett found guilty of staging race-baiting hate attack to boost his career
Jussie Smollett has been found guilty on five of six charges of disorderly conduct
Jussie Smollett was convicted Thursday of staging a hate crime nearly three years after he claimed two white Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats beat him up, tied a noose around his neck, and doused him in bleach.
His trial lasted just under two weeks and concluded on Wednesday with five hours of closing arguments, during which Smollett, whose biggest role was on Empire, was branded a ‘serial liar’ by the prosecution.
He denied paying Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo – two Nigerian brothers who he knew – to stage the attack to boost his celebrity profile, as police had found in their investigation.
It took nearly an hour for the actor to return to the Chicago courthouse to hear the jury’s guilty verdict.
The charges are a Class 4 felony, which can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison. He is likely to be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.
However, reports also say each of the level four felony counts Smollett has been convicted of carries a default sentence of up to four years behind bars. Smollett has no prior convictions, but his decision to deny the charges, and present an unconvincing and ultimately unsuccessful defense to jurors means a judge is more likely to give him a harsher sentence.
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.