The verdict is in for actor Jussie Smollett, who was charged with lying to police about a hate crime in Chicago, Illinois, that he claimed to have been a victim of in 2019.
According to Fox News, jurors voted to convict him on five of the six disorderly conduct counts against him.
Sentencing still to come
Smollett was found guilty of providing false statements regarding multiple aspects of the hoax attack, including claims that he was doused with bleach and had a rope put around his neck by racist supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
Jurors stopped short of convicting him of a sixth count related to his allegation that he was the victim of an aggravated battery.
Now, the former Empire star is the subject of a pre-sentencing investigation ordered by the judge. The next step will involve attorneys from both sides determining a date for pre-sentencing motions.
Smollett faces a prison sentence of up to three years for the felony charges. Experts, however, predict that his actual sentence will likely be much shorter — and he could receive probation along with an order to perform community service.
Of course, his attorney affirmed that he will be pursuing an appeal.
Smollett plans appeal
“The verdict is inconsistent,” argued defense attorney Nenye Uche, according to Breitbart. “You can’t say Jussie is lying and say Jussie is not lying for the same exact incident.”
Based on the jury’s decision, the lawyer expressed a belief that his client will ultimately “be cleared of all, all accusations on all charges.”
Special prosecutor Dan Webb offered a much different reaction, calling the verdict “a resounding message by the jury that, in fact, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”
The prosecutor went on to highlight the extraordinary amount of time and resources wasted by Chicago police officers on the fake hate crime, explaining that they performed “extraordinary police work” to “thoroughly and conscientiously investigate this case.”
Testimony from two brothers hired to carry out the hoax attack helped seal Smollett’s fate, but his own performance on the stand did not do him any favors. In fact, his repeated claims that he actually was the victim of an assault have led numerous pundits to suggest that he should also face perjury charges.