CHICAGO – The only black juror on the jury to find Jussie Smollett lying to Chicago police says he can’t get over what the actor didn’t do after he claimed the attackers tied a noose around his neck: Tear it off and keep it.
If others see the noose as Smollett’s clumsy attempt to portray his attackers as racist, Andre Hope sees much more.
Andre Hope told WLS-TV: “As an African-American, I never put that noose around. At the trial, Smollett testified that after the attack in downtown Chicago in January 2019, he returned home and put the rope around his neck so that the police would arrive at his apartment shortly thereafter. can be seen.
Hope isn’t the only black person to have struggled with Smollett’s use of such powerful racist symbolism in America to convince authorities that he was the victim of a hate crime.
In an interview with NewsNation Now following Smollett’s conviction last Thursday, Eddie Johnson – who was Chicago police chief in January 2019 when Smollett said he was assaulted – said the same thing. on one’s own.
“I’m worried because I don’t think there’s a lot of black people in America with a noose around their neck who won’t take it off right away,” Johnson said.
Hope says the evidence against Smollett abounds. At trial, the brothers testified that Smollett recruited them to carry out the mock attack. Hope said the rebuttal story brought by Smollett’s attorney that the pair actually planned to attack Smollett made no sense.
“When you just use your common sense as to what’s there, yes, things don’t work out,” said Hope, 63, a father of two living in suburban Bellwood, west of Chicago. problem”.
Hope listened to prosecutors argue that Smollett had staged the hoax because he was angry that the studio where he filmed the TV show “Empire” didn’t take the hate mail he received seriously. But after all the evidence was presented, after all the witnesses had testified, Hope still had one big question.
“I still haven’t figured out why he did this, why this happened,” Hope said. “He’s a star.”
Smollett faces three years in prison when he returns to court the following year for sentencing. However, experts say he will most likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.
That should be fine with Hope, who thinks Smollett doesn’t deserve to go to jail. And, he said, he hopes the actor – who testified he has lost his livelihood – will get a chance to continue his career.