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Jussie Smollett Guilty on Five of Six Counts for Lying About Hate Crime

CELEBRITY NEWS - Karen Smith Post

hate crime

A Chicago jury has found former Empire actor Jussie Smollett guilty on five of six charges that he lied to police about being the target of a January 2019 hate crime according to CNN.

On Thursday, jurors reached a verdict on the six counts of disorderly conduct, finding the 39-year-old guilty of making three false police reports alleging that two acquaintances carried out a racist, anti-gay attack on Smollett. Smollett was found not guilty on the count of making a false police report that he was the victim of aggravated battery.

Closing arguments began on Wednesday after a week-long trial. The jury deliberated for over nine hours. Smollett took the stand on both Monday and Tuesday, repeatedly denying that the attack was staged for publicity and telling the courtroom “there was no hoax on my part.”

The actor disputed testimony from the brothers Abimbola and Ola Osundairo, who allege Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out the attack in downtown Chicago. Jussie Smollett testified that the check he wrote Abimbola in the same amount was for workout and nutritional advice.

The brothers, who played extras on Empire and who Smollett called “liars” during the trial, also took the stand.

Abimbola told the court that Smollett “wanted me to beat him up” and that he did so because he “believed [Smollett] could help further my acting career.”

He added that Smollett “had this crazy idea of having two MAGA supporters attack him,” which he also told the brothers he wanted to share on social media.

In the prosecution’s closing arguments, special prosecutor Dan Webb told the jury, “Mr. Smollett went on that witness stand, took an oath that he’s going to tell the truth [and] he made many, many false statements to you. He lied under oath to you as jurors.”

Webb also accused Smollett of withholding evidence from police, saying the actor did not turn over his cell phone or DNA to police. Smollett claims it was due to privacy concerns.