A juror in the Jussie Smollett trial has explained various reasons why the jury felt there was no way they could acquit the star actor in his explosive trial for staging a bogus hate crime attack on himself.
The juror, who declined to be identified, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the jury of six women and six men did not have any major disagreements, but took nine hours to deliberate because they wanted to properly consider all the evidence.
Some doubted that prosecutors had proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt when deliberations began, he said. But those people just wanted more time to go over all the evidence again.
“It wasn’t evenly divided, but there were some skeptics,” he said.
Smollett was convicted Thursday night of five out of six disorderly conduct charges related to filing a false police report on an assault and a false police report on a hate crime in January 2019. Detective two weeks later that he was the victim of an aggravated assault.
Smollett – an openly gay black actor who for nearly three years denied allegations that he had hired two brothers as assailants in the alleged attack – testified on his own behalf during the week-long trial.
But the jury said they felt their answers lacked credible reasoning, especially when there was no evidence to back up their story.
Smollett’s creative director Frank Gatson, who initially called the police in 2019, was included on a list of witnesses to testify but was never called.
“We all wanted to hear from Frank,” the jury said.
In the end, the jury said they found the testimony of the brothers hired to attack Smollett more convincing. Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo gave damning testimony that Smollett had paid them to carry out the task of mistreating him and to slip a rope around his neck after spraying him with bleach. They also claimed that Smollett had guided them through a “trial” days before.
Rubbing salt on the wound, the jury said Smollett’s defense attorney, Nenye Uche, appeared to be “shooting from the hip” with her approach to the trial. She dismissed unsubstantiated claims that did not sit well with the jury, such as a claim that the Osundairo brothers wanted a $ 2 million payment from Smollett to change their story.
In contrast, prosecutor Dan Webb had a “methodical and laborious” style that made his argument appear stale, the jury said.
Uche said he would appeal because of the jury’s “inconsistent” verdict. “It cannot be said that Jussie is not lying about the exact same incident,” he said in a statement.
But the jury explained why they only returned a guilty verdict on four or five counts.
“They told us it was an aggravated assault because [Smollett] said they were wearing a mask, “the jury said. But “in all [of Smollett’s] accounts of what happened, he mentioned a mask. “
She added: “I just hope [Smollett and his attorneys] I know we went in there with an open mind. I listened to both sides. We wanted to make sure that those with doubts didn’t feel pressured. “