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Jussie Smollett guilty of lying to police about hate crime attack, jury finds

The jury found the actor Jussie Smollett guilty of five of the six crimes of disorderly conduct that he faked hate crime against himself then lied to the police when he reported the alleged assault.

Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct on suspicion of making a false report to the police and was sentenced to up to three years in prison.

A panel of six men and six women in Chicago reached its verdict on December 9 after deliberating for nine hours divided over two days following a week-long trial that included lengthy testimony from Smollett, who claims “no hoax” and denies any wrongdoing. . The defense claimed that he was the victim of an actual gay assault.

Smollett was convicted on five counts of lying to police after the alleged assault. but was acquitted of a sixth count of lying to a detective a few weeks later.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo – brothers that prosecutors allege were paid to orchestrate the attack to gain media attention on Smollett – testified that they were paid $3,500 to staged a fake attack against Empire actors, blacks and gays.

They testified that they were directed to meet Smollett outside his apartment in Chicago at 2 a.m. on January 29, 2019 and shouted taunts and “MAGA” – a reference to the slogan “Make Water America is Great Again” by former president Donald Trump – and threw fake punches, poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck.

Prosecutor Dan Webb, who accused Smollett of lying during the closing arguments, stated that Smollett “hopes that the Osundairo brothers will not cooperate with the police”.

“He was exposed, and now we are in a court of law,” he said. “That’s what happened.”

Defense attorney Nenye Uche sought to discredit the brothers, arguing that they were out to take advantage of Smollett for their own money and fame.

After reporting on the attack, Smollett established himself as a suspect, subject to intense media scrutiny and political controversy. He lost his role on the hit show after police believed he staged the attack and he told jurors this week he “lost my livelihood”.

According to initial reports, before police announced that they believed it to be a hoax, celebrities and liberal lawmakers and campaigning politicians pointed to the attack. allegedly has a high rate of hate crime, while then-president Trump called it “terrible” and said. it “didn’t get worse”.

Weeks later, following accusations that the attack was a hoax, Mr. Trump said it was a smear against his supporters, while his son Donald Trump Jr and right-wing figures and comedians use it as an initial attention-grabbing punch. .

Vice President Kamala Harris, who initially defended Smollett, later say that false statements against the police not only”[divert] resources from serious investigations but it makes it harder for other crime victims to access.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/jussie-smollett-guilty-trial-attack-b1973321.html Jussie Smollett guilty of lying to police about hate crime attack, jury finds

JACLYN DIAZ

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