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The jury deliberated over the span of two days in deciding if Jussie Smollett made false reports to police and detectives about his alleged January 2019 attack.
The jury concluded that Smollett was guilty of lying to police and convicted him on five counts of felony disorderly conduct.
Smollett maintained his innocence throughout the trial and even took the witness stand and claimed: “there was no hoax” regarding the 2019 incident.
Two different narratives play out at bizarre trial
Last week, two brothers took the witness stand and gave damaging testimony that Smollett had recruited them to stage a racist and homophobic attack against him in downtown Chicago.
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were stand-ins on the hit television show Empire.
Moreover, they claim they carried out the hoax because they felt indebted to Smollett.
They testified that Smollett planned a “dry run” and gave them $100 to buy supplies, including rope for a noose and bleach. The brothers said Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out the attack.
Smollett’s defense attorneys suggest the Osundairo’s attacked him and accused him of staging a hoax to make money. The defense alleges that after Chicago police questioned the brothers about the attack, they asked Smollett for $1 million each. In exchange for the money, defense attorneys say they agreed not to testify against Smollett at trial.
Smollett claimed he paid the brothers for meal plans and training to get more toned for a music video. He said, “there was no hoax” in regards to the 2019 incident.
Legal experts believe it will be highly unlikely if Smollett receives sentencing to any jail time. A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony. It’s punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. With Smollett testifying in his own trial, however, that could impact the judge’s decision on his sentence.
“When you testify in a case, the judge now gets a sense of what you said,” CNN’s legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson said. “What Jussie Smollett said was resoundingly rejected by that jury. The jury did not buy what he was selling. That’s not lost upon a judge. You came into the courtroom and fabricated.”
Smollett’s lawyer, Nenye Uche, says he “respectfully disagrees” with the jury’s verdict and that they will win on appeal.
“He (Smollett) is 100% confident that this will be reversed on appeal,” Uche said. “At the end of the day, we believe justice will prevail. We don’t believe it was done today but we’re very confident that he will be cleared and he will be found to be innocent.”