Jussie Smollett found guilty of setting up discrimination hoax

by mcardinal

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 


A jury found actor Jussie Smollett guilty on five of the six felony counts he was accused of on Thursday, causing the actor to face the possibility of three years in prison and hefty fines. 

The “Empire” actor claimed that two men perpetrated a racist and homophobic attack against him in January of 2019, however evidence later pointed to Smollett having paid two brothers, Nigerian men Smollett had worked with previously, to fake the attack.

In addition to the punishment for his crimes, the City of Chicago is suing the actor to recover over $130,000 in money that was spent to investigate Smollett’s now-debunked hoax. Smollett is countersuing, saying that the city can’t ask for the money since they already accepted his $10,000 bail that was surrendered when prosecutors initially dropped the 16 felony charges against him. 

The city of Chicago’s case is assisted, substantially, by Smollett’s guilty ruling. The jury, which consisted of six men and six women, deliberated for over nine hours on Wednesday and Thursday before reaching the verdicts.

News reports have indicated that the case leaned heavily on the testimony of the seven witnesses, including brothers, Bola and Ola Osundairo, whose testimony was consistent with police findings that Smollett paid them to fake the attack due to his frustration over the issues with his career. In his report, Smollett claimed that his attackers punched him, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck while using racist and homophobic slurs against the Black and openly gay actor.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb asked one of the brothers, “Who was in charge of this thing?” referring to the incident in question. 

“Jussie was,” Bola Osundairo told the jury. The other brother, Ola Osundairo, told the jury that Smollett “had this crazy idea of having two MAGA supporters attack him,” and that he wanted “to put that on social media.”

In his initial report, Smollett claimed that his attackers had recognized him from his show and one of the men exclaimed, “This is MAGA country,” during the attack.

Smollett’s defense attorney, Nenye Uche, called the verdict inconsistent, pointing to the jury only finding Smollett guilty on five of the six charges, and said he would appeal the case:

“It’s pretty disappointing, what happened,” he told reporters at the courthouse. “But we remain confident that we’re gonna come back and he’s going to be vindicated.”

Webb said at a news conference that he was proud of the jury, but that he couldn’t say whether Smollett would face further charges for perjury for his trial testimony:

Mr. Smollett would not have lost this case as he did today unless the jury found that he lied to them. The fact that he came up with a completely ridiculous story to explain his misconduct did not apparently have an impact on the jury’s verdict.

Sentencing for the case will not take place until next year