CHICAGO — The jury in the Jussie Smollett trial returned a guilty verdict on five of six counts Thursday afternoon, according to Brett Baier during a live Fox News broadcast.
Smollett’s conviction comes nearly three years after he claimed two Trump-loving bigots beat him up, tied a noose around his neck and doused him in bleach in order to raise his public profile, New York Post reported.
For Smollett, the verdict is the final chapter in the made-for-tv saga that jurors found Smollett not just starred in, but directed from start to finish when he asked two men to “fake beat him up,” gave them a script of homophobic and racist slurs to deliver and selected a stage for the phony beatdown that he thought was in direct view of surveillance cameras.
Jurors heard six days of testimony from 13 witnesses and deliberated for less than 10 hours. In the absence of smoking gun evidence, the trial in Chicago criminal court came down to whose story was more believable: Smollett’s, or Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo’s.
Smollett allegedly told police that he was walking to his Chicago home in the early morning hours of January 29, 2019 when two masked men, one of them sporting a red hat, spouted racial slurs and attacked him. They also doused him with bleach and put a noose around his neck, CBS2 reported.
Prosecutors alleged that Smollett staged the attack to get media attention and paid $3,500 to the Osundairo brothers to help him pull it off.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Smollett’s defense attorneys suggested that the brothers may have attacked Smollett because they were homophobic.
“It’s clearly a violation of the law to go to the police and report to police a fake crime and tell police it’s a real crime,” special prosecutor Dan Webb told the jury.
“To outright denigrate something as serious, as heinous, as a real hate crime, to denigrate it and then make sure it involved words and symbols that have such horrible historical significance in our country was just plain wrong to do it and he did.”
Smollett will be sentenced in coming weeks, according to a Fox News broadcast.
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley said, “The jury got it right. … He was race baiting for his own advancement. … The evidence was so overwhelming that many people couldn’t believe he took the stand.”
Turley went on to criticize many political leaders who seemed to back the Smollett hoax.
“The jury has shown how good the system is.” he said.
Turley concluded his comments by suggesting that jail time is warranted due to the overwhelming expense to investigate and prosecute the case in addition to continuing the tall tale during courtroom testimony.
He will need to face the same judge “who didn’t buy his story any more than the jury did,” Turley said.