Jussie Smollett trial: Jury reaches a verdict

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CHICAGO — A verdict was reached in the Jussie Smollett criminal trial Thursday, nearly three years after he told police two Trump-loving bigots beat him up, tied a noose around his neck and doused him in bleach on a blistering night in January 2019. 

Jurors deliberated for over nine hours before reaching the verdict.

They’d heard six days of testimony from 13 witnesses in Chicago criminal court about the alleged attack by brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. Prosecutors argued the “Empire” actor had paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack for attention, while the defense maintained Smollett was the victim of a real hate crime.

The brothers had testified about being asked to fake the alleged attack, outlining the planning behind the incident and describing a dry run with Smollett. The defense presented witnesses to call the brothers’ version of events into question.

Smollett testified he paid $3,500 to Abimbola for personal training services and a meal plan. When he had texted him asking for his “help on the low,” it was about help obtaining an illegal herbal steroid, Smollett claimed.

Jussie Smollett walks into court Thursday.
Jussie Smollett walks into court Thursday.
Reuters
Special prosecutor Dan Webb, left, cross examines actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Chicago.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb cross-examines Jussie Smollett on Dec. 7, 2021, in Chicago.
AP Photo/Cheryl Cook

The hate crime Smollett claimed he suffered sparked international outrage, and then disgust, when police said he made the whole thing up.

The actor was originally charged with staging a hate crime in February 2019 but in a stunning reversal, Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against him after he agreed to forfeit a $10,000 bond and showed proof that he’d completed two days of community service.

The two Nigerian brothers being questioned over the Jussie Smollett attack are actors Abimbola 'Abel' and Olabinjo 'Ola' Osundairo
Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo testified that the attack was Smollett’s idea.

Former state appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien convinced a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the case by Cook County State Attorney Kim Fox’s office.

Judge Michael Toomin issued a scathing ruling that summer and declared Foxx’s case void.

Toomin later appointe a special prosecutor, who brought renewed charges against Smollett in February 2020.

The actor faces up to three years in jail for the crimes.

Director and Empire creator, Lee Daniels, shares a screen grab showing Jussie Smollett's injuries obtained during an alleged biased hate crime attack on the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street, Chicago, on January 28, 2019.
Director and “Empire” creator, Lee Daniels, talking to Jussie Smollett on Jan. 28, 2019.
Lee Daniels
Chicago Crime Scene Investigators examines a Chile Habanero hot sauce bottle  with a form of liquid in it. The hot sauce bottle could have been over looked by police when they first was at N.New Street and E.North Water Street in the Streeterville neighborhood investigating the 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett
Abimbola testified that Smollett wanted the brothers to pour bleach on him during the attack.
G.N.Miller/NYPost

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