On Thursday, a jury found “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett guilty of staging a racist, homophobic hate crime against himself in Illinois in January 2019.
According to Fox News, Smollett was convicted of five out of six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making false reports to Chicago police. The Associated Press reported that the jury deliberated for nine hours on Wednesday and Thursday before reaching a verdict.
We are waiting for Jussie Smollett to return to the courthouse. So far no sign of him or his attorneys.
— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) December 9, 2021
Smollett, 39, was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a hate crime targeting himself in Chicago and then reporting it to police. At the time, it was believed he was leaving a Subway at 2 a.m. when he was attacked by two white men wearing ski masks — one of whom yelled, “Aren’t you that f**** ‘Empire’ n****r?”
Smollett claimed a noose was wrapped around his neck during the 2019 attack. Since then, prosecutors alleged Smollett paid $3,500 to brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who are Black, to stage the apparent hate crime assault.
Taking the stand in his own defense, Smollett testified on Monday that he met Abimbola Osundairo at a club while filming season four of “Empire.” He said they used cocaine and marijuana together before going to a bathhouse in Boystown, where they did more drugs and kissed.
However, Abimbola Osundairo testified last week that he and Smollett never dated and he did not detect any sexual tension between them. He also said he was not gay and that he was only friends with Smollett.
Smollett also testified on Monday that he and Abimbola Osundairo were friends and they would drive around smoking blunts.
While on the stand, the actor denied devising a hate crime hoax. He went on to accuse the Osundairos of lying, claiming the $3,500 payout was for meal and workout plans.
The defense argued that the brothers staged the attack because they were homophobic against Smollett. They also alleged the brothers fabricated a story about the attack to extort $1 million each from Smollett.
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[Featured image: Jussie Smollett/AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast]