Jussie Smollett was found guilty Thursday of orchestrating a hate crime on himself that he went on to report to police.
Smollett reportedly appeared stoic as he was found guilty on five of six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police about being attacked in a racist and homophobic attack in January 2019.
The verdict came down after the Cook County jury, a panel of six men and six women, deliberated for more than nine hours over Wednesday and into Thursday, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Testimony in the case began late last month. Thirteen witnesses took to the stand in the trial of the former “Empire” star.
Smollett, 39, could face up to three years in prison. He has no prior criminal record and is expected to receive a lighter sentence than the maximum, including possible probation, the Tribune wrote.
The jury began deliberations after hearing lengthy closing arguments on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Smollett was surrounded by family members, including his mother, brother Jojo and sister Jurnee as he arrived back at the courthouse Tuesday to face a withering cross examination.
Smollett denied the testimony of two brothers, Abel and Bola Osundairo, who claim Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage a fake attack in his downtown Chicago neighborhood.
On the stand, the prosecutor asked Smollett why he didn’t recognize the brothers’ voices during the alleged attack, even though they were friends and his personal trainers.
“In that moment, I’m not going to stop and say, ‘Hey Bola, is that you?’ It was an attack. It happened fast,” Smollett said. “They’re liars. They said I had something to do with it, and that’s not true. I’m on trial for an attack I didn’t do.”
He was also challenged over his claim that the alleged attackers were white.
“Did you say ‘white’ to get more attention?” a prosecutor asked.
“You’d have to ask someone who actually did a fake hate crime,” Smollett answered.
When police arrived at Smollett’s apartment after he reported the attack, he was wearing a noose he claimed the attackers placed on him.
The two brothers were caught on surveillance camera buying gloves, two ski masks, a red hat and other items, which they paid for in cash. Smollett admitted he did pay the brothers $3,500, but testified it was for services to help him get in shape for a video.