CHICAGO (AP), — Jussie Mollett was convicted Thursday of lying to police about a homophobic attack. His report of a hate crime nearly three years ago quickly became part and parcel of a polarized political landscape with people from all walks of the country.
The prosecutor stated that the verdict was a “resounding message from the jury that Mr. Smollett actually did what we said he would” — recruit two brothers for a fake attack to be captured by a surveillance camera.
The brothers claimed that the ex-Empire actor paid them $3500 for the hoax, and they were given lines to shout about, including “MAGA country,” which is an apparent reference to the then-President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
It was a sensational report that prompted massive police involvement in the Chicago investigation. Trump also criticised the handling of the case by calling it “an absolute embarrassment for our country .” “.
“Not just did Mr. Smollett lie about his crimes to the police, but he also caused havoc in the city for weeks for no reason whatsoever,” Dan Webb, special prosecutor, said after Thursday’s verdict.
Smollett is Black and gay. During the three-year legal battle, he maintained that he was attacked by anti-gay and racist people in downtown Chicago in January 2019.
After the jury found Smollett guilty of five out of six counts for disorderly conduct and lying to police, his attorney declared Smollett innocent again. NenyeUche stated that Smollett would appeal his conviction and is “100% certain” that an appellate court will clear his name.
Uche stated to reporters that Jussie had already been tried and convicted in media. “Unfortunately, we were faced with an uphill battle and we had to get the jury to forget all the negative news stories they had heard over the past three years,” Uche said after the verdict.
The jury convicted him on five counts for disorderly conduct. He was also charged with lying to police within days of the attack. A sixth count of lying to a detective, in which he admitted that he was attacked, was dropped by the jury.
Smollett stood in front of the jury and did not react to the verdict. His family and he left the courthouse shortly afterward without comment.
Judge James Linn scheduled a post-trial conference for Jan. 27 and stated that he would schedule Smollett’s sentencing at another time. Although disorderly conduct is a class 4 crime that can lead to a three-year sentence, experts believe that Smollett will likely be placed on probation and required to do community service if convicted.
His professional and personal lives may suffer more serious consequences. After prosecutors claimed the attack was a hoax and Smollett told jurors that he had lost his job, he was forced to resign from the television program Empire.
After a nearly one-week trial, the jury deliberated for nine hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
Smollett claimed he was the victim in a hate crime and told jurors that it was a hoax. He also said that the $3,500 check he wrote was for meals and workout plans.
His lawyers argued that the brothers had attacked the actor because they were homophobic and didn’t like him. They also claimed that the brothers staged the attack to get money from Smollett and that they would not testify against him if Smollett paid each of them $1 million.
When asked Thursday if Smollett might be charged with perjury after lying on the witness stand Webb stated that perjury charges don’t usually occur after a defendant has been convicted. However, it was not clear what would happen in Smollett’s case.
He said that the verdict of the jury had vindicated the Chicago Police Department.
Webb stated that they believed he was a victim of a crime and worked hard for the next three weeks. They believed that he was a victim in a crime, and worked hard for three weeks .” .
Uche claimed that Chicago police should have done more to investigate the case and that some witnesses were not interviewed.
He called Smollett’s jury split verdict “inconsistent” and said it was absurd for him to be convicted on five charges but not the sixth.
A lawyer for Abimbola Osundairo and Olabingo Osundairo said that her clients were “more thrilled and satisfied with the results.”