A jury has found former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett guilty on five counts related to an apparent hate crime hoax he orchestrated back in 2019.
Smollett was found guilty on five out of six counts of disorderly conduct and has not yet been sentenced.
According to Fox News reporter Matt Finn, “Smollett was found not guilty about lying about aggravated battery. That charge was because his attackers were wearing masks.”
Notably, Smollett was late arriving to court after the verdict was reached. The judge gave everyone a 30-minute window to make it back, but the actor came back after that timeframe.
The actor faced a total of “six counts of disorderly conduct under a subsection of the law that prohibits false reports to police,” according to NBC Chicago. The charges were listed as class 4 felonies, “which are among the least serious felonies in Illinois,” the report said, adding that possible “convictions can still carry potential prison time of up to three years.”
NBC Chicago detailed the six counts:
“Count 1 accuses him of telling responding Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig at around 2:45 a.m., 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 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 are when Smollett made the same claims but to a different officer, Kimberly Murray, later that morning, at just before 6 a.m.
Count 5 accuses Smollett of again telling Murray at around 7:15 p.m. that he was the victim of a battery. Count 6 refers to Smollett reporting on Feb. 14, 2019, to detective Robert Graves that he’d been a victim of an aggravated battery.”
The now confirmed hoax of an attack occurred in January of 2019 when Smollett claimed he was targeted and attacked by apparent supporters of President Donald Trump in an anti-gay, anti-black hate crime.
His alleged attackers, whom he initially described as white males who yelled “This is MAGA country,” were brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. Notably, the brothers are both black men who knew the “Empire” star before the incident and have claimed Smollett orchestrated the “hoax.”
Smollett unsuccessfully tried to get the charges against him dismissed in October, before the trial started.
“Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, said the charges should be dismissed because Smollett already performed community service and paid a $10,000 bond under a sweetheart deal with Cook County prosecutors,” The Associated Press reported at the time.
“A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle,” Uche said, according to the outlet.
However, Cook County Judge James Linn denied the request. “Linn explained that the case was being handled by a special prosecutor who was appointed by a different judge and that he would not end that arrangement.”
Then, last week, an attorney defending Smollett claimed Judge Linn “lunged” at her in court and demanded a mistrial, which was quickly denied.
Attorney Tamara Walker asked the judge for a sidebar and the jury was sent out of the room, reported the Chicago Tribune’s Megan Crepeau. Walker then asked for a mistrial over the judge using the term “collateral” to her. “Walker is also saying that Linn lunged at her during a sidebar: ‘You did physically lunge at me.’” the reporter said. “Linn seems furious and is denying it outright.”
Author: Marc Simmons