Posted on December 9, 2021

Actor Found Guilty in Fake Hate Crime Case

Julia Jacobs and Mark Guarino, New York Times, December 9, 2021

A jury in Chicago found the actor Jussie Smollett guilty on Thursday of falsely reporting to the police that he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in 2019, an attack that investigators presented as a hoax directed by the actor himself.


The case dated back to the frigid early hours of Jan. 29, 2019, when Mr. Smollett — known then for his role in the Fox music-industry drama “Empire” — told the police that he had been the victim of a hate crime near his apartment building in Chicago. At the time, the report, which involved one of Mr. Smollett’s attackers yelling “This is MAGA country,” capturing the attention of a politically polarized nation {snip}

Prosecutors argued in court that Mr. Smollett had instructed two brothers, Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, on all of the details, specifying that they punch him hard enough to create a bruise but not hard enough to injure him, and to pour bleach on his clothing and place a rope around his neck like a noose.

The special prosecutor in the case, Daniel K. Webb, told the jury that Mr. Smollett staged the attack because he had received a hate-filled death threat in the mail and was upset by the muted response of the producers behind the television show on which he starred, “Empire.”