A jury in Chicago on Thursday found out
actor Jussie Smollett guilty on five felony charges.
Smollett, who is black and came out gay
in 2015, told police that he was the victim of a racist and
homophobic assault in downtown Chicago on January 29, 2019. Smollett
said that two men hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him and told
him that he was in “MAGA country.”
Prosecutors allege that Smollett staged
the attack as a PR stunt.
According to CNN, Smollett was found
guilty of “five counts of disorderly conduct for making false
reports to police” and “acquitted on one count of felony
disorderly conduct.” Smollett faces a sentence of up to 3 years.
The jury, made up of 12 people,
deliberated for nine hours over Wednesday and Thursday.
Special prosecutor Daniel Webb argued
that Smollett had paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo
$3,500 to attack him three years ago.
Webb called the evidence against
Under cross-examination from Webb,
Smollett, who is best known for playing Jamal Lyon on Fox's Empire,
said it was “fully false, 100 percent false” that he planned or
paid anyone to stage the attack against him.
Webb told reporters that Smollett, 39,
had lied under oath. “Mr. Smollett would not have lost this case,
as he did today, unless the jury found that he lied to them,” he
Webb took over the case after 16 felony
counts of disorderly conduct were initially dropped, sparking
questions as to whether Smollett had received preferential treatment.