December 10, 2021
Photo by: Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty of a fake police complaint with the Chicago police in 2019 alleging he was the victim of a racial and homophobic attack.
Smollett was found guilty of five counts of felony disorderly conduct, according to CNN. On one allegation of felony disorderly conduct, he was found not guilty.
On Jan. 29, 2019, while going home from a sandwich shop in Chicago, the former Empire star claimed that two men assaulted him in the attack. Smollett reported that he was attacked and had a rope over his neck while being hurled racist and homophobic comments.
A grand jury in Cook County, Illinois, indicted Smollett on six counts of creating false police reports in February 2020.
The 39-year-old allegedly recruited brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to fake the purported attack, according to Special Prosecutor Dan Webb. The Osundairos brothers corroborated the prosecution’s allegation in their testimonies. They claimed that Smollett planned the attack for publicity and paid them $3,500 to stage it.
Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts after allegations that he faked the incident, but District Attorney Kim Foxx subsequently dropped all charges.
From the witness stand, the former child actor rejected the accusation, claimed the $3500 was for fitness training. Smollett allegedly claimed that the brothers demanded a bribe from him in exchange for changing their testimony.
Anthony Moore, a security guard, who testified said that he signed a statement saying he saw two people fleeing the site of the attack, one of whom was “probably” a Black male. Moore, on the other hand, claimed that the special prosecutor “threatened” him to “throw something out there that I didn’t see.”
Smollett’s publicist and Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney were among the defense team’s witnesses. They challenged the prosecution’s argument that Smollett was motivated by attention and retaliation for the studio’s apparent delay in response to a threatening letter he received.
Webb based his case against Smollett on the testimony of multiple Chicago Police Department officers, including Detective Michael Theis, who described how investigators tracked down the Osundairos brothers using surveillance footage. Smollett allegedly recruited the brothers to fabricate the attack, according to the brothers. And according to the detective, the police used GPS data and cell phone records to support their account.
According to the Associated Press, Smollett may face up to three years in prison, but this is unlikely given his lack of a criminal record and the fact that no one was seriously harmed. Probation and community service are likely punishments.
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