Jussie Smollett found guilty on 5 counts of disorderly conduct

CHICAGO -- The jury in the Jussie Smollett case has found him guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct related to a racist and homophobic attack police said the "Empire" actor staged against himself. He was acquitted on one count.

The "Empire" actor arrived at the courthouse shortly after 5 p.m. to hear the verdict read, surrounded by family as he has been for the duration of the trial.

Both prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments Wednesday morning. The jury got the case shortly before 2:45 p.m. One juror had a prior commitment and had to leave by 5:15, and shortly after 5 p.m. the judge dismissed jurors for the day, ending their first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. On Thursday, they resumed their deliberating about 9:15 a.m. at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse and announced they had reached a verdict around 4:30 p.m.

Ola Osundairo is present in the courtroom to hear the verdict read, but his brother Bola is in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he is competing in the USA Boxing Tournament. His attorney said he won a bout Wednesday night and is fighting again Thursday evening, despite the trial disrupting his training schedule.

Judge James Linn had urged the jurors to take as much time as they may need to decide guilt or innocence in the case.

Jurors did have a question Wednesday night, requesting a calendar the special prosecutor used during the trial.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb wove together seven days of testimony and evidence, including statements from Chicago police officers, the Osundairo brothers and Smollett in his closing argument, appealing to the jury's "common sense and intelligence."

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"In January 2019, Mr. Smollett developed this plan to create a fake hate crime, then reported it as a real crime to the Chicago Police Department," Webb said.

He told the jury Smollett is not credible and said he was "tailoring his testimony" and lying under oath. He detailed places where he argued Smollett changed his story, and emphasized Smollett's reluctance to participate in the CPD investigation.

Webb argued Smollett refused to give police his phone because he had messaged Bola Osundairo.

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Webb even went so far as to call part of Smollett's story "ridiculous," asking why Smollett was at the intersection at 2 a.m. He told the jury he went to get eggs because Osundairo told him to eat more eggs. But the drug store Smollett said he went to was closed.

"How would the brothers know to be right at that intersection right at 2 a.m.?" asked Webb. "Smollett told them where he was going to be."

And Webb said Smollett manipulated the rope that Ola Osundairo testified he couldn't get around the actor's neck.

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Jussie Smollett's brother briefly addressed the media Tuesday morning, saying dealing with the case has been "incredibly painful."



"Mr. Smollett didn't want the crime solved. ... He told the brothers he wanted the media attention," Webb said.

During the defense's closing arguments, Smollett's attorney Nenye Uche described the case as crazy and Smollett as innocent and called the Osundairo brothers "con man" "liars" "criminals" who wanted money from the actor.

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"They are trying to twist his (Smollett's) words. Jussie was injured! Those were real injuries!" Uche said. "These guys want to make money. They want the fast life. They want it easy."

The defense said in January 2019 Smollett's star was on the rise.

"Not only does Jussie have a lack of motive, he has anti-motive." said Uche. "He's dumb enough to go into Obama's city and pretend there's Trump supporters with MAGA hats running around? Gimme a break."

Smollett's defense ended with an appeal.

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A legal analyst weighed in on a possible verdict in the Jussie Smollett trial Wednesday.



"I need constitutional warriors in that jury room." he said. "I ask you, please be strong."

Prosecutors contend the former "Empire" star was upset his TV studio didn't take seriously a threatening letter he'd reported, and so he hatched a plan for the fake attack.

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When will we know the verdict in the Jussie Smollett case?



The actor's defense attorneys have insisted Smollett is a real victim in the alleged Streeterville attack.

Smollett, 39, is charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors say was a false police report about the alleged attack - one count for each time he gave a report - to three different officers. The class 4 felony carries a prison sentence of up to three years, but experts have said if Smollett is convicted he likely would be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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