A Chicago jury has found that actor Jussie Smollett lied to police when he claimed to have been the victim of a racial and homophobic attack.
Jussie Smollett, 39, maintained his denials during his trial this week that he planned the phoney attack against himself.
Prosecutors said that he “lied for hours” on the stand, repeating what he told Chicago cops. On Thursday, he was convicted guilty of five charges of disorderly behaviour.
Each offence carries a potential prison sentence of up to three years. Experts predict a reduced sentence or probation for Smollett due to his lack of prior convictions. A date for sentencing has yet to be set.
Unfolding Smollet’s drama
According to a report by the BBC News, authorities launched an investigation into the attack, but in February of the following year, Jussie Smollett was charged with filing a fake police report, claiming he orchestrated the attack.
He was charged with six counts of lying to the police, each pertaining to a different occurrence in which he was accused of doing so. He was convicted on five of the six charges, with the sixth remaining unproven in court.
At the trial, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo testified that Smollett plotted the attack himself and paid them $3,500 (£2,600) to carry it out.
The check was for a food and training plan from Abimbola, a buddy and extra on Empire, a TV show about a hip hop dynasty, according to Smollett. When asked if he ever paid the individual money for the alleged scam, Smollett said, “Never.”
He further admitted that he and Abimbola had a sexual relationship prior to the alleged assault.
Jussie Smollett’s lawyer, Nenye Uche, said the team “clearly respectfully disagrees with the jury’s judgement” and is “100% sure” that the case will be reversed on appeal.
Smollett allegedly sought to raise his profile because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire, according to authorities. He said he was paid $100,000 per episode by the fifth season of the show.
During the uproar surrounding the purported incident, he was eventually written off.