Jussie Smollett Convicted Of Hate Crime Hoax In March

Jussie Smollett, the former “Empire” actor who was convicted last month of orchestrating a forgery crime, will be sentenced on March 10, attorney Tamara Walker confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

Smollett was found guilty in December of five counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019. His defense team said it will appeal the ruling.

A hearing on post-trial motions is scheduled for January 27 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told Chicago Police on a cold night in January 2019 that two unidentified men assaulted him, yelled at him racism and homophobic to him, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

Chicago police investigated what could have been a hate crime but soon determined the actor had staged the incident. They said he paid two brothers he knew from the TV show “Empire” to go public.

Two brothers, Bola and Ola Osundairo, were among seven witnesses for the prosecution at the trial. They testified that Smollett directed them and paid them to stage the attack to gain media attention.

They say they faked hitting him, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck and used racist and homophobic slurs – because he told them .

“Who’s in charge of this?” Webb asked.

“Jussie did,” Bola Osundairo told the jury.

Smollett testified in his defense and said he only paid the brothers for coaching advice and nutrition advice. He doubts their real motives and says he had sex with one of the brothers.

Disruption by false crime reporting is a Level 4 felony and carries a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Cook County Judge James Linn will have discretion to impose a concurrent or consecutive sentence on each of the five counts.

CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson previously told CNN the judge could give Smollett probation, but Smollett “admitted himself to prison” when testifying in court.

“When you testify in a case, the judge understands what you said,” Jackson said. “What Jussie Smollett said was categorically rejected by that jury. The jury didn’t buy what he was selling.

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