Jussie Smollett Convicted of Felony Disorderly Conduct for Reporting Staged

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Jussie Smollett’s grand jury indictment in Chicago, which included six charges of felony disorderly conduct, reached a verdict today (December 9). The Empire actor was convicted by a Cook County jury of staging and reporting a hate crime on himself in 2019, the Chicago Tribune reports. He was found guilty of five of the six charges he faced.

In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was attacked by two masked men in Chicago and experienced a hate crime. The following month, the city charged the actor with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. In March 2019, the actor was indicted on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Smollett pleaded not guilty after turning himself in that same month. Those charges were suddenly dropped the following month, the judge sealed the case, and Smollet’s record was expunged.

Come April 2019, the City of Chicago sued Smollett, claiming he staged the attack and was responsible for the cost of the criminal investigation—calculated at more than $130,000—that launched due to his allegedly false police report. The actor pushed back by filing a lawsuit accusing the City of Chicago and various police officers of malicious prosecution.

Following public criticism, a Cook County judge ordered Special Prosecutor Dan Webb to investigate both the alleged crime and the dropped Cook County case. In February 2020, Webb announced a new grand-jury indictment accusing Smollett of staging the attack and six counts of felony disorderly conduct, to which the actor pleaded not guilty. Webb also concluded that the State Attorney’s office abused its discretion in the initial Smollett case but was not guilty of criminal wrongdoings.

Smollett’s trial began on November 29, 2021 with jury selection in Chicago. During the trial, while the paid attackers, the Osundairo brothers, testified that Smollett gave them detailed instructions on how to stage a fake hate crime, Smollett repeatedly denied accusations that he orchestrated a hoax.

The jury deliberated for nine hours over a two-day period before reaching a verdict in court today. Chicago Tribune reporter Megan Crepeau specified in a tweet that the only count on which Smollett was acquitted alleged that he gave a false report two weeks after the staged attack. Counts 1-5 alleged that he gave a false police report on the day of the staged attack.

Judge James Linn set a hearing date of January 27 for motions in the case prior to Smollett’s sentencing. According to a report by The New York Times, Smollett will not be kept in custody before sentencing takes place. Smollett faces up to three years in prison.

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