Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been found guilty on 5 counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.
Deliberations lasted just over 9 hours with the jury delivering the verdict Thursday evening around 6:15 pm.
Smollett was acquitted on Count 6 of felony disorderly conduct, which refers to the defendant reporting to detective Robert Graves on Feb. 14, 2019 — about two weeks after the incident — that he’d been the victim of an aggravated battery. All other charges were related to the events that took place on Jan. 29, 2019.
As it stands, Cook County Judge James Linn will have discretion in imposing a concurrent or consecutive sentence for Smollett on each count at a later date.
A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony, which means it is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Smollett took the stand and testified before the jury that he never lied to police and denied orchestrating the attack on himself.
Prosecutors sought to show that the former Empire actor made false reports to police after paying Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to carry out a staged hate crime attack against him to garner sympathetic media coverage.
Among the surprising claims made in Smollett’s testimony was the revelation that the actor received a text from CNN’s Don Lemon, supposedly relaying information that the Chicago Police Department didn’t believe Smollett’s account of what happened.
Irv Miller, a legal analyst for CBS 2 in Chicago, predicted that it’s unlikely that the 39-year-old defendant will be sentenced for a substantial amount of time in prison:
“He’s not a first offender. He had a case a few years ago, where he was found guilty of giving false information to the police, and that’s basically what he did in this case. The law in Illinois says you should get probation on a class 4 felony, which is what he’s charged with, but because he does he have this background that may tip the scales, a little bit towards giving him a little jail time.”
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.