Jussie Smollett was found guilty after facing six counts of disorderly conduct after allegations over staging a homophobic hate crime against himself.
Jussie Smollett has been found guilty for staging a hate crime against himself. The 39-year-old faces up to three years in prison for staging an attack that included a noose being tied around his neck, as well as being housed in bleach, per the New York Post. Smollett claimed he was targeted by two racist followers of Donald Trump that were also homophobic. The verdict came after six days of testimony that included 13 witnesses.
The actor arrived for his first day in court on Nov. 29 wearing a suit and tie, along with a face mask with his family, including mother Janet and Emmy-nominated sister Jurnee. Jussie was indicted by a grand jury of six counts of disorderly conduct after allegedly making a false report to Chicago police in Feb. 2020 over a targeted hate crime due to his sexuality.
He was specifically accused of hiring brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to attack him in an effort to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” per police. The Osundairo’s previously confessed that this was part of the plan, telling police that Jussie “attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language” ahead of the alleged stage incident. It was also alleged that the brothers were paid $3500 for the attack.
The openly gay actor took the stand on Dec. 5 to defend himself against the six counts. During his statement, he revealed that he and Abimbola met in Chicago while he was shooting the fourth season of hit FOX series Empire, admitting that they took drugs and went to a bathhouse together. At the venue, Jussie said ‘there was some touching,” before they proceeded to masturbate near each other. Notably, Abimbola has denied any sort of sexual relationship with Jussie.
During the statement, Jussie also talked about meeting Abimbola’s brother Olabinjo. “He kind of creeped me out,” the Santa Rosa born actor said per CNN, in reference to Olabinjo. “Every time we were around him he didn’t speak to me. Every time we needed to leave, he made it seem like we needed to sneak off. He wasn’t feeling me, it’s fine. Who is he to me? It’s fine,” he explained. Jussie firmly said there was “no hoax” in court, as well.
As a result of the allegations, Jussie — who played the character of Jamal — was dropped from Empire in 2019.