Los Angeles, US, Dec 9 (EFE).- American actor Jussie Smollett was convicted on Thursday over falsely reporting to police that he had been a victim of a racist, homophobic attack in Chicago in 2019.
After more than nine hours of deliberations, a Chicago jury found Smollett guilty of five out of six felony charges of disorderly conduct under an Illinois state law that prohibits false crime reports to police.
He was acquitted of making of a false report to another detective weeks after the alleged attack.
The 39-year-old now former star of the TV series “Empire” had pleaded not guilty and denied he staged the hoax hate crime.
Each of the charges he was convicted of are punishable with to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. He will be sentenced at a later date.
The Black, gay actor told police on Jan. 29, 2019 that he was attacked by two men in downtown Chicago who hit him, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, as well as a Donald Trump slogan, poured a chemical substance on him and tied a noose around his neck.
His employers, colleagues and fans immediately rallied around the actor, expressing outpourings of outrage and love.
However, during the police investigation it was discovered that the attack was a hoax staged by the actor as a publicity stunt in order to advance his career.
During the trial, two brothers testified that Smollett had paid them to fake-attack him.
A first raft of criminal charges lodged against Smollett were abruptly dropped in a controversial decision by the Cook County state attorney’s office.
Five months after the dismissal of the charges, Dan Webb was appointed special prosecutor in the case and tasked with reviewing it.
Webb went on to get a special jury to approve the resulting six charges against the actor in February 2020. EFE