Actor Jussie Smollett, formerly of the TV drama “Empire,” was found guilty of faking a hate crime against himself in what prosecutors have labelled "a bid to gain sympathy and bolster his career."
Smollett lied to police when he told them that he was accosted on a dark street in Chicago by two masked strangers back in 2019.
Smollett has been found guilty of five of the six felony disorderly conduct counts, one for each time he lied to police.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb described Smollett's account as ridiculous, adding that “Mr. Smollett would not have lost this case as he did today unless the jury found that he lied to them.”
Smollett, who's black and gay, said the two men put a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressions of support for former President Donald Trump.
Police arrested Smollett a month after the fake assault when it was revealed he paid two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, $3,500 to stage the phony attack in an effort to raise his show-business profile.
During the trial, Smollett took the stand and disputed their accounts. Smollett also added that he was physically intimate with Abel at a Chicago bath house where they got a private room, "did more drugs and like, made out."
“While it’s certainly possible that he could receive a sentence involving prison time, the much more likely scenario is that he would receive probation with some amount of community service,” former Cook County Prosecutor Eryk Wachnik said of the trial.
Cook County Judge James Linn did not set a date for sentencing, but scheduled a presentencing hearing for Jan. 27.