Jussie Smollett Verdict: 'Empire' Star Found Guilty Of Orchestrating 2019 Hate Crime, Actor Facing 3 Years In Prison
The verdict is in! Jussie Smollett has been found guilty of orchestrating his own hate crime, then filing a false police report about it.
The 39-year-old former Empire star took the stand earlier this week, denying he paid the Osundario brothers to stage a fake attack on him in 2019.
It looks like the jury disagreed. After two days of deliberation, they announced their verdict in a Chicago courtroom on Thursday.
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Smollett was hit with six felony disorderly conduct charges for filing a false police report about being a hate crime victim. He was found guilty in 5 of those counts. The felonies carry a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts don't believe the actor will see the inside of a jail cell.
Many believe he'll just get a slap on the wrist with a hefty fine and community service. However, that decision will come down at his sentencing.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, prosecutor Dan Webb told the jury that Smollett "lied under oath" when he took the stand and said he did not organize the January 2019 hate crime against himself.
"Mr. Smollett, when on that witness stand, took an oath he was going to tell the truth, and he made many, many false statements to you. He lied under oath to you as jurors," Webb alleged.
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According to Webb, Smollett signed a $3,500 check to Abimbola Osundario as payment for the orchestrated attack, but the star had a different story.
Smollett did not deny writing the check; however, he said it was for nutrition and training advice. The actor claimed he sought Abimbola's help after his Empire director Lee Daniels called him "fat."
Smollett maintained his story that he wanted to drop weight for a music video.
Smollett told the jury that on January 29, 2019, he was attacked by two masked men wearing MAGA hats who shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him near his home in Chicago. When police showed up at his residence, Smollett also had a noose around his neck.