CHICAGO (AP) – Defense attorney for Jussie Smollett said on Thursday he would appeal the former ‘Empire’ actor ‘s conviction for lying to police about being the victim of a racist and anti-gay attack.
A jury has found Smollett guilty of five of six disorderly conduct charges against him following a trial lasting almost two weeks.
After reading the verdict, Uche told reporters that Smollett was disappointed and was “100% innocent”. He said Smollett’s team is confident “he is going to be cleared of all charges on all charges.”
THIS IS A CURRENT UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.
CHICAGO (AP) – Former actor of “Empire” Jussie smollett was convicted Thursday of committing an anti-gay racist attack on himself nearly three years ago, then lied to Chicago police about it.
In the courtroom as the verdict was read, Smollett stood up and faced the jury, showing no visible reaction.
Jury found the 39-year-old guilty on five counts of misconduct – for every time he was accused of lying to the police in the days immediately following the alleged attack. He was acquitted of the sixth count of lying to a detective in mid-February, weeks after Smollett said he was attacked.
Outside of court, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb called the verdict a “resounding message from the jury that Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”
Smollett “wreaked havoc here in town for weeks without a reason,” then compounded the problem by lying under oath in front of the jury, Webb said.
Judge James Linn has set a post-trial hearing for January 27 and said he will schedule Smollett’s sentencing at a later date. Disorderly driving is a Class 4 felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said that if found guilty, Smollett would likely be placed on probation and ordered to do household work. ‘general interest.
Attacks on his personal and professional life can be more severe. Smollett lost his role on the “Empire” TV show after prosecutors declared the alleged attack a hoax, and he told jurors earlier this week, “I lost my livelihood.
The jury deliberated for just over nine hours on Wednesday and Thursday after a trial of about a week in which two brothers testified that Smollett recruited them to simulate the attack near his home in downtown Chicago in January 2019. They said Smollett orchestrated the hoax, telling them to put a noose around his neck and brutalize him in sight of a surveillance camera, and that he said he wanted video of the hoax to be made public via social networks.
Smollett testified that he had been the victim of a genuine hate crime, telling jurors “that there had been no hoax.” He called the brothers “liars” and said the check he wrote them for $ 3,500 was for meal and workout plans. His lawyers argued that the brothers attacked the actor – who is gay and black – because they are homophobic and didn’t like “who he was”. They also alleged that the brothers made up the story of the organized attack to get money from Smollett and said they would not testify against him if Smollett paid them $ 1 million each.
In closing arguments on Wednesday, Webb told jurors there was “overwhelming evidence” that Smollett organized the attack, then lied to police about it for publicity. He said Smollett Chicago police spent huge resources investigating what they believed to be a hate crime, and this surveillance video contradicted key moments in Smollett’s testimony.
When asked Thursday if Smollett could be charged with perjury for lying on the witness stand, Webb said charges of perjury “usually” do not occur after an accused is convicted, but that didn’t know what would happen in Smollett’s case.
He also said the Chicago Police Department was confirmed by the jury’s verdict.
“A lot of times people say, ‘Well the police sweep things under the carpet,’” he said. “This police department responded.
A lawyer for Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo, the brothers who testified against Smollett, said his clients “could not be more delighted and satisfied with the results.”
Chicago police “got it right,” Gloria Rodriguez said.
In argument on Wednesday, Smollett’s defense attorney Nenye Uche insisted the attack was real and called the brothers “sophisticated liars.”
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