After only one day of deliberations, a jury has found Empire actor Jussie Smollett guilty of 5 out of 6 charges of disorderly conduct. The Chicago Tribune Reports–
“Actor Jussie Smollett was convicted by a Cook County jury Thursday of staging and reporting a hate crime on himself, marking a dramatic end to a case that captivated the nation ever since he reported being attacked on a frigid night in Chicago nearly three years ago.
After a weeklong trial with testimony from 13 witnesses and lengthy closing arguments, the jury deliberated for about 9 hours over two days before finding Smollett, 39, guilty of disorderly conduct for lying to police about the January 2019 incident. Smollett faces up to three years in prison, though with no prior criminal record its far more likely he would receive a lighter sentence including possible probation.”
Smollett was reportedly “stoic” as the verdict was announced in court.
Smollett’s claim that he was attacked by two Trump supporting men carrying nooses provoked public sympathy and outcry in 2019. The disgraced actor claimed the men had shouted “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan, poured a bleach-like liquid on him and hung a thin rope noose around his neck.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb delivered closing arguments, saying that what Smollett did was both illegal and “plain wrong”. Webb highlighted Smollett’s use of “words and symbols” that he knew would provoke outrage, like nooses and the use of the N-word as part of what made Smollett’s crime both legally and morally wrong.
Smollett testified in his own defense on Monday, in a rare move that legal experts called an “unparalleled” disaster for the defense.