Jussie Smollett was found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct on Thursday, stemming from a January 2019 incident in which the actor alleged he had been attacked because of his race and sexual orientation. A Chicago jury reached guilty verdicts on five of six charges against Smollett. The decision came after nearly 10 hours of deliberation spread across two days from a panel of six men and six women. The charges, class four felonies, could result in up to three years of prison time. Given Smollett’s lack of a criminal history, it is unclear if he will be sentenced to any time in prison.
During the trial, Smollett testified that he had been attacked by two masked men while walking home around 2 a.m. The actor said the men beat him, shouted racist and homophobic comments, poured a chemical substance on him, looped a rope around his neck and then fled. Two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, were arrested in February 2019 for allegedly being connected to the attack. The Osundairos told police that Smollett wrote them a check for $3,500 to carry out the purported attack. Smollett contested that the $3,500 check was given to the brothers for meal and workout plans. His attorneys alleged that the brothers made up the story about the attack being staged and said they would not testify against Smollett if they were paid $1 million each.
Jussie Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, said he “respectfully disagrees” with the jury’s verdict, adding that he feels “100% confident” that Smollett’s case will be won on appeal.” Uche said: “He [Smollett] is 100% confident that this will be reversed on appeal. 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.”
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