Smollett Convicted on 5 Counts

Jury decides actor invented tale about being a victim of a hate crime
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2021 6:25 PM CST
Actor Found Guilty for False Hate Crime Report
Actor Jussie Smollett, along with his mother, Janet, returns Thursday to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago to hear the jury's verdict.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A Chicago jury convicted Jussie Smollett on Thursday of falsely reporting that he was the victim of a hate crime in 2019. The former Empire actor was convicted of five charges and acquitted of one, NBC reports. Smollett showed no reaction as he stood facing the jury and heard the disorderly conduct verdicts, per the AP. Prosecutors said he staged an anti-gay, racist attack, then lied to police. Smollett was the recipient of widespread sympathy before his account unraveled. He was acquitted Thursday on one count of lying to a detective shortly after he said the beating took place. After deliberating for nine hours, the jury found Smollett guilty on:

  • Count 1: Making a false police report, claiming to be the victim of a hate crime, to officer Muhammad Baig.
  • Count 2: Making a false police report, saying he was the victim of a battery, to Baig.
  • Count 3: Making a false police report that he was the victim of a hate crime to Detective Kimberly Murray.
  • Count 4: Making a false police report, saying he was the victim of a battery, to Murray.
  • Count 5: Making a false police report, saying he was the victim of a battery, to Murray.

The crimes are all class 4 felonies. Each could bring Smollett as long as three years in prison and a $25,000 fine, but it would be unusual for someone without a criminal record to receive a prison sentence, per NBC. The judge could give him probation or order the sentences to be served concurrently, per CNN. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 27, per the Wall Street Journal. Smollett was not taken into custody until sentencing. His lawyer said he'll appeal the verdicts. (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)

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