Almost three years after the initial incident, the case surrounding Jussie Smollett's alleged hoax attack has a verdict.
In January 2019, news broke that actor Smollett had been the victim of a hate-filled attack. According to reports, the performer had been accosted in Chicago, where various slurs were hurled at him before he was physically attacked with a noose being placed around his neck and bleach being thrown on him. The attack was perpetrated by two masked figures. Many spoke out against the incident which was called both homophobic and racist, with then-presidential candidate and current vice president Kamala Harris likening it to a modern-day lynching.
As time passed, officials began to investigate Smollett as the orchestrator of the attack, dubbing it a hoax. The two supposed attackers were Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, and not white as previously said. A special prosecutor was brought on and Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct including filing a false police report. Each count reflects an individual lie that prosecutors believe that Smollett told.
Smollett was found guilty on five of six counts.
The jury reached their decision after more than eight hours of deliberation Thursday. In closing arguments on Wednesday, prosecutors told the jury that there was "overwhelming evidence" that Smollett staged the attack and then lied about it to police. The defense said the prosecutors' case, which hinged heavily on the testimony of the Osundairo brothers, was based on lies.
As a part of the trial, Smollett revealed that he stopped cooperating with the police investigation after CNN host and friend Don Lemon texted him that they did not believe his story. Some, mostly conservatives, have called for Lemon to be investigated as a result of this news.
Smollett faces up to three years in jail. Many experts say that Smollett is likely to only receive probation.
Since the incident, Smollett was written out of Empire. This fall, Smollett had the premiere of his film B-Boy Blues, which is his directorial debut. He has also shot a series pilot for a project that he stars in and directed according to The Hollywood Reporter.