Jussie Smollett verdict: ‘Empire’ actor guilty on 5 counts of disorderly conduct by jury in Streeterville attack case

CHICAGO (WLS) – The jury in the Jussie Smollett case found him guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for organizing a racist and homophobic attack on himself in Streeterville in 2019.

Smollett ran out of the courthouse, ignoring questions from a crowd of media after the surprising reprimand from the jury.

The former “Empire” actor showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. He faced six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police about the attack and was found guilty of all of them except the sixth count, which had to do with changing the statement he gave to Det. Robert Graves on February 14, 2019, from a “white attacker” to “pale skin.”

WATCH: Jussie Smollett arrives in court to hear the verdict read

Judge James Linn said he agreed to keep Smollett on bail, but that he will have to return to Chicago to be sentenced. He faces between one and three years in prison, but since he has no criminal record, experts say he may be granted parole.

RELATED: Here’s What Could Happen During Jussie Smollett’s Sentencing

Post-trial motions will take place through Zoom on January 27, but a sentencing date has yet to be set.

Special counsel Dan Webb criticized Smollett at a press conference after the verdict was given for reporting a bogus hate crime, noting that Chicago police officers worked around the clock and took their duties very seriously. affirmations.

“Mr. Smollett not only lied to the police and wreaked havoc here in this city for weeks for no reason, but he compounded the problem by lying under oath before a jury,” Webb said.

He also said that by organizing and then reporting a bogus hate crime, Smollett damaged the credibility of other hate crime victims.

WATCH: Special Counsel Dan Webb Speaks After Verdict

The judge thanked the jury, which was made up of seven men, including one African American and five women.

The defense promised to appeal the verdict.

“We remain 100% confident in the innocence of our client,” said Nenye Uche, senior defense attorney.

WATCH: Smollett’s defense attorneys speak after verdict

Ola Osundairo, one of the two brothers hired by Smollett to organize the attack against him, did not comment on the verdict but criticized journalists, who had referred to the Chicago-born brothers as Nigerians.

“I apologize if I am not using my Nigerian accent tonight,” he said.

Brother Bola was in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the time of the verdict, where he is competing in the United States Boxing Tournament. His attorney said he won a fight Wednesday night and is fighting again Thursday night, even though the trial disrupted his training program.

WATCH: Osundairo brothers’ attorney speaks after Smollett’s verdict

The Chicago Police Department did not comment on the verdict, but former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, who was superintendent when the hoax attack occurred, had some regrets after the news broke.

The case seemed strange to him from the beginning.

“Let’s face it. Look at that video, that news story. I will say this, there is no black man in America who has a rope wrapped around his neck and left on,” Johnson said. “They just won’t do that. The first thing they’re going to do is take it off.”

At the time, nearly two dozen investigators spent days trying to verify Smollett’s claims as violent crimes swept through the city.

“We don’t do other things, but we wanted to give you your due diligence, of course,” Johnson recalled. “But it was a pressure on me in terms of, just if, if the evidence guided us in a way that it was a hate crime, then that’s okay, but it wasn’t. And then it became pressurized for me at that point. , because we had to clarify serious crimes. “

Just two weeks after a 16-count grand jury indicted Smollett for lying to police, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who had recused himself from the case, dropped each of those. charges.

“Of course it caught me and the mayor off guard when the charges were dropped,” Johnson said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney issued a statement, saying: “The Jury has spoken. While this case has garnered a lot of attention, we hope that as a county we can move forward. We at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to focus on the important work of this office, prioritizing and prosecuting violent crimes. “

The City Legal Department released a statement after the verdicts were read, saying: “The City filed a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett to recover costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department investigating what the City believed were the Smollett’s false police reports that he was a victim. ” of a hate crime. While a different standard of proof is used, the conviction of the jury that convicted Jussie Smollett on criminal charges stemming from the incident confirms that the City was correct in initiating its civil lawsuit. The City intends to pursue its lawsuit to hold Smollett accountable for its illegal actions and require it to compensate the City for costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department that took its false claims of damages seriously. “

MORE: Full Timeline of the Jussie Smollett Case

Both the prosecution and the defense gave their final arguments on Wednesday morning. The jury received the case shortly before 2:45 p.m. A juror had a prior engagement and had to leave at 5:15 p.m., and shortly after 5 p.m. the judge removed the jurors for the day , ending their first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. On Thursday, they resumed their deliberations around 9:15 a.m. M. At Leighton Criminal Court and they announced that they had reached a verdict around 4:30 p.m. M.

READ MORE: What is Jussie Smollett accused of?

Jurors had a question Wednesday night, requesting a calendar that the special counsel used during the trial.

Webb wove seven days of testimony and evidence, including statements from Chicago police officers, the Osundairo brothers and Smollett, into his closing argument, appealing to the “common sense and intelligence” of the jury.

WATCH: Legal expert weighs in on Jussie Smollett’s testimony

“In January 2019, Mr. Smollett developed this plan to create a bogus hate crime, then reported it as a real crime to the Chicago Police Department,” Webb said.

He told the jury that Smollett is not credible and said he was “adapting his testimony” and lying under oath. He detailed the places where he argued that Smollett changed his story and emphasized Smollett’s reluctance to participate in the CPD investigation.

Webb argued that Smollett refused to give police his phone number because he had texted Bola Osundairo.

Jussie Smollett Case: Timeline of Key Pretrial Moments on Disruption Charges

Webb even called part of Smollett’s story “ridiculous,” asking why Smollett was at the intersection at 2 am. He told the jury that he went looking for eggs because Osundairo told him to eat more eggs. But the pharmacy Smollett said he went to was closed.

“How would the brothers know they were right at that intersection at 2 am?” Webb asked. “Smollett told them where he was going to be.”

And Webb said Smollett tampered with the rope that Ola Osundairo testified could not go around the actor’s neck.

LOOK: The case of Jussie Smollett ‘has been incredibly painful’, says brother

“Mr. Smollett did not want the crime solved … He told the brothers that he wanted media attention,” Webb said.

During the defense’s closing arguments, Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, described the case as insane and Smollett as innocent, calling the Osundairo brothers “con artists” “liars” “criminals” who wanted money from the actor.

SEE MORE: Jussie Smollett trial: The prosecution rests case after the testimony of star witnesses of the Osundairo brothers

“They are trying to misrepresent his (Smollett’s) words. Jussie got hurt! They were real injuries!” Uche said. “These guys want to make money. They want life fast. They want life to be easy.”

The defense said in January 2019 that Smollett’s star was on the rise.

“Not only is Jussie devoid of motive, he has anti-motive.” Uche said. “Are you dumb enough to go to Obama town and pretend there are Trump supporters in MAGA caps hanging around? Give me a break.”

Smollett’s defense ended with an appeal.

WATCH: Legal analyst weighs in on possible verdict in Jussie Smollett trial

“I need constitutional warriors in that jury room.” he said. “I ask you, please be strong.”

Prosecutors maintain that the former “Empire” star was upset that her television studio did not take a threatening letter she had reported seriously, so she hatched a plan for the bogus attack.

The actor’s defense attorneys have insisted that Smollett is a real victim in the Streeterville attack.

Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for doing what prosecutors say was a false police report on the alleged attack – one count for each time he gave a report – to three different officers. The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said that if Smollett is found guilty, he will likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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