December 9, 2021

Former “Empire” Actor Jussie Smollett found guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime

Anthony Tilghman
Anthony Tilghman, is an 2x Award-winning photographer, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020 & 2021 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.
Photo By:Photo: Chicago Police Department

Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty Thursday on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report to Chicago police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019, an attack prosecutors said he staged.

Mr. Smollett said the money he paid to Abimbola Osundairo was to help him get into shape. Mr. Osundairo testified

Jussie Smollett denied paying a man and his brother $3,500 to stage a fake hate crime nearly three years ago to get the attention of producers of the show.

Mr. Smollett said the money he paid to Abimbola Osundairo was to help him get into shape. Mr. Osundairo testified last week that he split the money with his brother. Mr. Smollett said the money wasn’t intended for Mr. Osundairo’s brother, Olabinjo.

Jussie Smollett arrives at court with family Monday in Chicago. PHOTO: TANNEN MAURY/SHUTTERSTOCK

According to a report in the Wall Street journal Smollett has claimed he was attacked at 2 a.m. on a frigid night in January 2019 by two men using anti-gay, racist and pro-Trump slogans. Police later alleged that he had faked the attack.

The two brothers, known the former “Empire” actor for about a year and a half prior to the hoax, both delivered their testimonies as the prosecution’s star witnesses. Abimbola, 28, told jurors that he and Smollett met at a club in the fall of 2017 and soon became so close, he considered the actor to be a “brother.” 

“He wanted me to punch him but he wanted me to pull the punch so I didn’t hurt him and then he wanted me to tussle him and throw him to the ground and give him a bruise,” Abimbola testified. Prosecutors said Jussie Smollett paid Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo $3,500 to stage the attack.

Gloria Schmidt, the attorney for the brothers, told reporters Wednesday that her clients had not accepted a plea deal or immunity.

“You don’t need immunity when you have the truth, ” she said.

A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

The Twelve jurors in Chicago criminal court found the actor guilty of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report following testimony from 13 witnesses and more than nine hours of deliberation. 

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