A jury in Cook County, Ill., has found actor Jussie Smollett guilty of felony disorderly conduct for staging a fake hate crime nearly three years ago.
Prosecutors said the former Empire star arranged for two men to attack him, wrap a noose around his neck and douse him with bleach in downtown Chicago, yelling racist and homophobic slurs — and that Smollett repeatedly lied to the police about the incident.
The verdict was announced Thursday, days after Smollett took the witness stand to tell the jury, “there was no hoax.”
Jurors deliberated for a little more than nine hours over two days before finding Smollett guilty on five of the six counts he faced, which were related to a false report he gave on the day of the attack. He was acquitted on one count of giving a false report to police at a later date.
“That verdict was a resounding message by the jury that, in fact, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did,” special prosecutor Dan Webb said at a press conference after the jury’s decision was announced.
The 39-year-old Smollett now faces up to three years in prison. A sentencing hearing has not been set.
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