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A jury in Cook County, Illinois, has found Jussie Smollett guilty of the misdemeanor misdemeanor misdemeanor. Prosecutors said the former Empire The actor arranged for two men to attack him in downtown Chicago, shouting racist and homophobic slurs – and that Smollett repeatedly lied to police about the incident.
The verdict was announced Thursday, days after Smollett, 39, appeared on the witness stand to tell the jury, “there was no hoax.” The jury deliberated for just over nine hours before finding Smollett guilty on five of the six counts he faced.
The testimony of two brothers who told jurors that Smollett hired them to carry out the attack in January 2019 was at the heart of the prosecution case, claiming that the actor paid them $ 3,500 and gave them $ 100 for expenses.
In the alleged attack on Smollett, two men tied a noose around his neck and said, “This is MAGA country” – a reference to then-President Trump’s slogan: Make America Great Again.
Prosecutors say they believe Smollett wanted to use the attack to publicize himself. Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, the two bodybuilding brothers who said Smollett hired them, said they believed the actor and musician would use the incident to get media attention – not to file a crime of alleged hatred with the police.
Smollett said he wrote Abimbola Osundairo a check for $ 3,500 – but said the money was meant to pay for nutrition and training, not to stage a crime.
The trial was the source of convolutions and controversy, ultimately necessitating the appointment of a special prosecutor.