Jussie Smollett Has Been Found Guilty By Chicago Jury Over 2019 Assault

Jussie Smollett Has Been Found Guilty By Chicago Jury Over 2019 Assault

A Chicago jury has just found Jussie Smollett guilty on five felony charges, including lying to the police about the alleged hate crime attack on the former Empire actor in early 2019. He was however found innocent of the sixth charge, that is making a false police report in the days after the so-called assault that he was the victim of an aggravated battery.

Claiming he was the victim of an assault in the early hours of January 29, 2019 by two men chanting “MAGA Country,” the actor who played Jamal Lyon on the primetime Fox soap faces a sentence of up to three years behind bars and a $25,000 fine.

Up until this week, it was widely assumed Smollett wouldn’t serve any actual time if found guilty for the six disorderly conduct claims. However, despite having no prior criminal record, the strong insistence of Smollett’s two days of testimony in his own defense greatly reduced that possibility in the light of the conviction.

No sentencing date was set today, but Smollett and almost everyone else will be back in court on January 27 next year for post-trial motions.

The relatively fast decision announced in Cook County Judge James Linn’s courtroom comes after under 10 hours of deliberation by the six-men-and-six-women jury over the past day. After the verdict was unveiled, special prosecutor Daniel Webb told the assembled press that “Defendants do not have the right to go in front of a jury and lie under oath.” He went on to say: “Mr. Smollett would not have lost this case, as he did today, unless the jury found that he lied to them.”

Starting on November 29, the Windy City trial saw ex-Iran Contra attorney Webb and law enforcement argue that Smollett had paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 nearly three years ago to rough him up in a fake homophobic and racially fueled attack for PR value — an allegation Smollett and his lawyers denied.

In closing arguments on Wednesday, Webb called the evidence of Smollett’s set-up of the hoax attack “overwhelming.” Decrying a claim of a phony hate crime demeaning real hate crimes, the special prosecutor went on to mock the inconsistencies of Smollett’s “false testimony” about the contentious matter. Pillaring Smollett for wasting police time and money on investigating the case, Webb laid out a seemingly damning timeline of the actor’s movements and behavior before, during and after the so-called attack.

Defense lawyer Nenye Uche in his own closing termed the prosecution’s case as “crazy” and the Osundairo brothers as “sophisticated liars” who tried to shake down Smollett for millions and are now working in lockstep with the police and Webb’s team to evade serious gun and drug charges. He added that the “entire prosecution’s case, including the foundation of the case, is built like a house of cards.”

The guilty verdict may be in, but Smollett isn’t over fighting the case.

“The verdict is inconsistent,” defense lawyer Nenye Uche said in a press conference. “You can’t say Jussie is lying and say Jussie is not lying for the same exact incidents. We feel 100% confident that this case will be won on appeal. Unfortunately, that’s not a route we wanted, but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win.”

Adding to the legal debris, Smollett still faces a civil suit from the City of Chicago over the resources spent on the Code Blue police probe into the alleged hate crime. Late Thursday, civic authorities put out a statement saying they intend to seek the around $130,000 they’ve estimated Smollett cost the Windy City.

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