A jury has found 39-year-old Jussie Smollett guilty on five of six charges stemming from his claim of being attacked in January 2019.
It’s been nearly three years since the former Empire actor first claimed he’d been attacked near his Chicago apartment by two men with seemingly racist intent. Smollett first drew sympathy from fans, peers and public officials around the world – but support turned to suspicion and eventually he faced accusations of faking the assault to raise his public visibility.
Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly hiring a confidant and his brother to assault him on a frigid night in January 2019, scripting even the racial slurs and “MAGA” slogan they were to shout as they attacked.
The case – which already had already drawn its fair share of online jokes – featured several twists and turns that only added to public interest.
For example, Smollett took the stand on Monday (Dec. 6), and said that he met one of the brothers, Abimbola Osundairo, at a club in 2017 and found that he also worked on the set of “Empire.” Smollett then said that the two did drugs together in a bathroom on set. “I always have weed on me … well, not now,” Smollett testified. “And he [Osundairo] had the cocaine.”
Afterward, they went to a bathhouse in the Boystown neighborhood where Smollett said, “they made out”. He also said they did more drugs together and had sex. Osundairo had previously testified the week before that they didn’t have a sexual relationship.
Smollett went on to add that he met Abimbola’s brother, Olabingo but they never spoke.
“He didn’t like me or he wasn’t feeling me — it’s fine,” he stated. When cross-examined by special prosecutor Dan Webb, Smollett stated that he refused to give Chicago police his cellphone because he wanted to retain his privacy and wasn’t concerned if the phone would show several calls to Abimbola Osundairo.
For their part, the brothers gave explicit details regarding Smollett’s wishing for the fake attack. They said Smollett instructed them to put a noose around his neck and rough him up in view of a surveillance camera, and that he said he wanted video of the hoax made public via social media.
Despite being found guilty, many experts agree Smollett will most likely not serve jail time and be granted probation instead.
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