Jussie Smollett Found Guilty


Charles Rex Arbogast

In 2019, actor Jussie Smollett reported that two men attacked him and hurled racist, homophobic slurs at him. This event shocked America and caused rage within the Black and LGBTQ community. However, after almost 3 years of constant police investigations and court hearings, the jury found Smollett guilty of reporting a false hate crime to the Chicago police.

Ren Lloyd, Reporter

Full of lies, twists, and turns, the Jussie Smollett case kept people on their toes waiting to see what will happen next. Finally, the jury reached a verdict and found Smollett guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime. He currently faces up to 3 years in jail and a 25,000 dollar fine. 

For background, in January of 2019, Empire actor Jussie Smollett claimed he received a threatening note laced with an odd powdery substance. Later that month he claimed that while walking down the street in the Cook County, Chicago neighborhood, two people began yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him. He claimed that they physically harmed him, poured a chemical substance on him, and even tied a rope around his neck similar to a noose. He proceeded to call the police. 

Later in February 2019, after a month of investigation on the case, Nigerian brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo announced that Smollett paid them 3,500 to act out the attack. In February 2020, the Cook County grand jury charged him with 4 false reports to the police regarding the case. This November Smollet’s trial began, and on December 9th 2021, the jury found him guilty of 5 out of 6 counts of disorderly conduct. However the judge acquitted him of one account related to a follow up interview regarding the case in February 2019. Judge James B. Linn did not sentence Smollett yet and did not set a sentencing date.

“I think this will probably be a point that I’ll make at sentencing, that not only did Mr. Smollett lie to the police and wreak havoc in this city for weeks on end for no reason whatsoever, but then he compounded the problem by lying under oath to a jury, which I don’t think should happen,” Special Prosecutor Dan Webb said.

Prior to this people believed that Jussie deserved justice for the attack. Reverend Al Sharpton and Vice President Kamala Harris expressed their sympathy and concern about the alleged attack. Senator Cory Booker even prompted that the House should bring up a bill that advances penalties for lynching passed by the Senate.

“It feels horrible knowing that he lied about those accusations. There’s always a stereotypical thing for LGBTQ+ males in America and he just makes it even worse for us. Honestly his lie probably would affect future cases because for one, he’s black and two he’s a part of the community. Our court systems are already messed up about us as blacks getting justice and lying about a serious matter just makes it even worse,” junior Cleo Johnson said. 

After the jury found Smollett guilty, the sympathy that people showed him turned to rage. Vice President Harris followed up her previous input on the matter to express her disappointment regarding the trial results. Even after the jury found him guilty, Smollett still refused to come clean and admit to falsifying the attack. 

Now that people await Smollett’s sentencing America marinates on the case results. From the moment Smollett announced the alleged attack in 2019, shock filled the hearts of people all over America. However, the news that he lied about the attack disappointed advocates and members of both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities.