Former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett exits court during his trial on six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. December 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska/File photo
March 10, 2022
By Brendan O’Brien
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Actor Jussie Smollett, onetime star of TV drama ‘Empire,’ will be convicted in Chicago on Thursday of orchestrating a hate crime against himself in what prosecutors say was an attempt to gain sympathy and his career to boost.
Smollett faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each conviction, although he could be granted a suspended sentence.
In December, a Cook County Circuit Court jury found 39-year-old Smollett guilty on five of six counts of disorderly conduct, one for each time he was accused of lying to police.
Prosecutors said Smollett, who is black and gay, lied to police when he told them he was approached by two masked strangers on a dark Chicago street in January 2019.
Smollett claimed the attackers put a noose around his neck and doused him with chemicals while shouting racial and homophobic slurs and statements of support for former US President Donald Trump.
Police arrested the actor a month later, saying he paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack to raise his profile in show business. He eventually pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct.
His case took an unexpected turn in the spring of 2019 when Cook County prosecutors dropped a 16-count charge against him in exchange for Smollett forfeiting his $10,000 bond without admitting wrongdoing.
The firing drew criticism from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Commissioner, who called the reversal a miscarriage of justice.
In 2019, a special prosecutor recommended that Smollett be re-indicted, and a grand jury returned indictments.
Smollett’s acting career declined after the incident. He lost his role as a singer-songwriter in the final season of “Empire,” a Fox hip-hop drama that ended a five-year run in 2020.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Mark Porter)
https://www.oann.com/actor-jussie-smollett-to-be-sentenced-for-staging-fake-hate-crime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=actor-jussie-smollett-to-be-sentenced-for-staging-fake-hate-crime Actor Jussie Smollett to be convicted of hate crime allegations