by James R. Scott, The Chicago Times
December 9, 2021
CHICAGO – A jury has found Jussie Smollett guilty on counts one to five stemming from his claim in 2019 that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, which he then lied about to Chicago police.
After a seven-day trial, the jury of six women and six men, only one of whom was Black, took more than nine hours to reach a decision.
The initial charges, filed in February 2019, accusing the former “Empire” actor of fabricating the assault, were quickly dismissed. However, after a special prosecutor investigated the case, a new six-count indictment was filed in February 2020.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, but is also punishable by probation, which is more likely if the “Empire” star is convicted, given his lack of a criminal record.
Count 1 accused Smollett of telling responding Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig, about 45 minutes after the alleged attack, that he was the victim of a hate crime. He claimed that two assailants tied a rope around his neck. Smollett told the same officer he was a victim of a battery, describing attackers beating and pouring bleach on him in count 2.
Counts 3 and 4 are from later that morning, just before 6 a.m., when Smollett made the same claims to a different officer, Kimberly Murray.
Count 5 accused Smollett with telling Murray again around 7:15 p.m. that he had been the victim of a battery.
Count 6 refers to Smollett reporting to detective Robert Graves on February 14, 2019, that he had been the victim of an aggravated battery.
The disorderly conduct charge carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts say if Smollett is convicted, he will most likely be sentenced to probation and ordered to perform community service.