Former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett found guilty on five counts of faking hate crime, lying to Chicago police


Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building after his trial on disorderly conduct charges on December 7 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.

Kamil Krzaczynski | AFP | Getty Images

Jurors in Jussie Smollett’s trial have reached a verdict — guilty.

On Thursday, the panel of six men and six women determined that the former “Empire” star had lied to police about being the victim of a hate crime. The decision came after nearly 10 hours of deliberation spread across two days.

Smollett, 39, was found guilty of five of six counts of disorderly conduct stemming from a January 2019 incident in which the actor alleged he had been attacked because of his race and sexual orientation.

These charges are class four felonies and could result in up to three years of prison time.

During the trial, Smollett, who is gay and black, testified that he had been attacked by two masked men while walking home around 2 a.m. The actor said the men beat him, shouted racist and homophobic comments, poured a chemical substance on him, looped a rope around his neck and then fled.

Two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, were arrested in February 2019 for allegedly being connected to the attack. The Osundairos told police that Smollett wrote them a check for $3,500 to carry out the purported attack.

Smollett contested that the $3,500 check was given to the brothers for meal and workout plans. His attorneys alleged that the brothers made up the story about the attack being staged and said they would not testify against Smollett if they were paid $1 million each.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb told the jury that Smollett caused the Chicago police to spend enormous resources investigating a crime that they believe to have been faked.



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