Empire actor, Jussie Smollett, found guilty of faking hate crime

A Chicago Jury has found American actor, Jussie Smollett, guilty of lying to the police about a racist and homophobic attack against him in 2019

The Empire actor had reported an attack against him back in January 2019 while he walked home at night in Chicago.

The attack, according to him, was carried out by two masked men who put a noose around his neck, poured chemicals on him, and yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him while declaring their support for Donald Trump.

Things took a turn in February when Smollett was arrested by the police who accused him of paying two Nigerian brothers, Abimbola, an extra on the Empire set, and Olabinjo Osundairo to stage the reported assault.

The duo who were prosecution witnesses, in their testimony, said that the actor paid them $3,500 to stage the assault as a ploy to get public sympathy and boost his acting career, AP news reports.

They also claimed Smollet gave them lines to yell, including “MAGA country,” a reference to ex-President, Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Smollett however maintained his innocence and accused the two brothers of lying. He also claimed that the cheque issued to them was a payment for dietary and workout plans.

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The jury, after a nine-hour deliberation, found Smollet guilty on five out of six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.

The defence attorney, Nenye Uche, maintained that the conviction would be appealed, and also expressed confidence that his client’s name would be cleared.

Judge James Linn, who presided over the case, set a post-trial hearing for January 27. He also said he would schedule Smollett’s sentencing at a later date.

Smollett has been written off the Empire series since allegations of his role in the attack became public.