Smollett Heads To Trial For Hate Crime Hoax

by The Chicago Times Staff

November 28, 2021

CHICAGO — Jury selection in the trial of Jussie Smollett (former cast member of Empire) will begin Monday, nearly three years after he claimed to be a victim of a hate crime that he is now accused of staging.

Months after Smollett’s arrest on disorderly conduct charges, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx ordered those charges be dropped.  That decision by Foxx’s office resulted in the appointment of former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as a special prosecutor in the case, tasked with re-investigating Smollett’s allegations as well as any wrongdoing by Foxx and her staff.

Smollett was indicted again a year later on six counts of disorderly conduct for making false statements to police about the alleged attack. 

The 39-year-old entertainer is accused of lying to Chicago police when he claimed he was the victim of a racist and anti-gay attack near his Streeterville apartment on Jan. 29, 2019.

Smollett, told police he was walking home when two men approached him in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street and attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.

The men allegedly poured bleach on Smollett and hung a thin rope noose around his neck while shouting “This is MAGA country,” a reference to then-President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan.

Smollett faces a maximum sentence of three years, yet will most likely receive probation if convicted.

Photo attribution: Dominick D.