After over nine hours of deliberation, a jury found actor Jussie Smollett guilty Dec. 9 of faking an anti-gay hate crime against himself in Streeterville on Jan. 2019, according to multiple reports.
Smollett was guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct, charges that carry with them a potential prison sentence, though there is a high likelihood of probation in Smollett's casethe Empire actor does not have any prior criminal record in Illinois. The jury found Smollett not guilty of one additional disorderly conduct count.
Thirteen persons, including Smollett, testified in the case. According to prosecutors, the actor engaged two brothers to simulate an attack in an effort to garner public sympathy. Smollett initially said that he was attacked by persons who recognized him from television and declared that he was in "MAGA country."
After a $3,500 check from Smollett to the brothers emerged, Smollett alleged it was for meals and workout plans, acknowledging that he knew them but that they nevertheless attacked him. The brothers testified against Smollett.
Smollett was dismissed from Empire shortly after the case went public. His case was brought forward by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office initially dropped charges against Smollett in March 2019. State's Attorney Kim Foxx admitted to having exchanged text messages with Smollett's sister, but her office maintained she had no hand in determining specifics of his case. Nevertheless, Webb's investigation into the prosecution determined a number of missteps.
The new charges against Smollett were eventually filed in June 2020. He was released on his own recognizance Dec. 9.