‘Empire’ Jussie Smollett is found guilty of forging hate crime

by

Reuters

Actor Jussie Smollett, 39, who was cast in the television drama “Empire”, was found guilty of forging a self-hate crime. According to prosecutors, the crime was an attempt to gain sympathy and boost his career.

Prosecutors said Smollett, who is black and gay, lied to police when he said he was approached by two masked strangers on a dark Chicago street in January 2019.

Smollett alleged that the attackers put a noose around his neck and hurled chemicals at him while shouting racist and homophobic insults and expressions of support for then US President Donald Trump.

The actor faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison on each count when given the sentences, but may be entitled to parole.

The Cook County jury, which deliberated for nine hours, found the artist guilty of five of the six counts of disorderly conduct he faced, one for each time he was accused of lying to the police.

Describing Smollet’s account of what happened as “ridiculous,” Special Prosecutor Dan Webb told reporters after the verdict that “Mr. Smollett would not have lost this case, as he did today, unless the jury decides he lied to they”.

Nenye Uche, the actor’s lead defense attorney, said his client is “an innocent man” who is confident he will see the guilty verdicts reversed in an appeal.

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