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Jussie Smollett verdict reached: Guilty on 5 of 6 felony counts

The charges are low-level felonies, and legal experts say the actor will likely get probation and community service orders.

Published: December 9, 2021 5:24pm

Updated: December 9, 2021 8:08pm

Jussie Smollett was found guilty Thursday on five of the six counts of felony disorderly conduct charges after more than eight hours of deliberation.

The former "Empire" actor was found not guilty on the charge of lying about being a victim of aggravated battery. Smollett had some facial bruising after the incident. During the trial, prosecutors argued that medical evidence showed the "attackers" did not actually try to hurt him.

Police said Smollett made false reports about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. He faces up to three years in prison.

The charges are low-level felonies, and legal experts say the he will likely get probation and community service orders, Fox News reports. The judge may, however, decide to impose a harsher sentence.

In 2019, he told Chicago Police Department officers that he was attacked in the middle of one of the coldest nights of the year by two men wearing Trump hats with bleach and a noose. Detectives quickly discovered the alleged attackers were two Nigerian brothers who received $3,500 from Smollett, which police argued was payment to carry out the attack.

Since the incident, Smollett has maintained his innocence and claimed to be a victim.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb argued on Wednesday that Smollett "caused CPD to spend [an] enormous amount of time of police resources only to find out it was a fake hate crime."

Smollett withheld vital evidence from officers because "he didn't want the crime solved. He wanted it reported as a hate crime, wanted the exposure. He's a smart man," Webb said.

Black Lives Matter, on the other hand, has used the trial to reiterate support for abolishing the police. The group published a statement on Tuesday by Melina Abdullah, who voiced support for Smollett regardless of the verdict.

"In our commitment to abolition, we can never believe police, especially the Chicago Police Department (CPD) over Jussie Smollett, a Black man who has been courageously present, visible, and vocal in the struggle for Black freedom," Abdullah wrote. "Chicago police consistently demonstrate that they are among the worst of the worst. Police lie and Chicago police lie especially."

This is a breaking news story. Please check back soon for more updates.

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