Jussie Smollett found guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime

By Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0246 GMT (1046 HKT) December 10, 2021
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7:55 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Smollett's attorney says he "respectfully disagrees" with the verdict and will appeal

From CNN’s Alex Meeks

Nenye Uche, Jussie Smollett's attorney, said he "respectfully disagrees" with the jury's verdict, adding that he feels "100% confident" that Smollett's case will be won on appeal.

"He [Smollett] is 100% confident that this will be reversed on appeal," Uche said. "At the end of the day, we believe justice will prevail. We don't believe it was done today but we're very confident that he will be cleared and he will be found to be innocent."

Uche said Smollett is disappointed but emphasized that his team remains confident in Smollett's innocence and said he is hopeful to get a "fair result" in appellate court.

7:54 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

CNN legal analyst: Smollett "exposed himself to jail time" with testimony

From CNN's Leinz Vales

A Chicago jury found Jussie Smollett guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in January 2019.

A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

However, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said the judge could give the former "Empire" actor probation, but added that Smollett, "exposed himself to jail time," when he testified in court.

"When you testify in a case, the judge now gets a sense of what you said," Jackson told CNN. "What Jussie Smollett said was resoundingly rejected by that jury. The jury did not buy what he was selling. That's not lost upon a judge. You came into the courtroom and fabricated."

Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor, agreed with Jackson, saying Smollett's testimony was a "miscalculation" by the defense team.

"So him taking the stand lead to his exposure in the way Joey has spoken about," Coates said. "A judge is now looking at you, taking everything you had to say and assessing it."

7:06 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Special prosecutor calls the jury's verdict a "resounding message"

Special prosecutor Dan Webb held a news conference following the five guilty verdicts against Jussie Smollett, calling the jury's decision "a resounding message."

"That verdict was a resounding message by the jury that, in fact, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did," Webb said.

The former "Empire" actor was found guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019.

Smollett was acquitted on one count of felony disorderly conduct.

Smollett took the stand and testified before the Chicago jury that he never lied to police and denied orchestrating the attack on himself.

Prosecutors sought to show that the actor made false reports to police after paying Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to carry out a staged hate crime attack against him to garner sympathetic media coverage.

7:02 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Smollett was acquitted on 1 of the 6 counts against him

( Scott Olson/Getty Images)
( Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Jussie Smollett has been found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in January 2019.

He was acquitted on one count of felony disorderly conduct, related to making a false police report he was the victim of an aggravated battery to Det. Robert Graves.

Smollett was found guilty of these charges:

  • Count 1 – Guilty: Making a false police report he was the victim of a hate crime to Officer Muhammad Baig.
  • Count 2 – Guilty: Making a false police report he was the victim of a battery to Baig.
  • Count 3 – Guilty: Making a false police report he was the victim of a hate crime to Det. Kimberly Murray.
  • Count 4 – Guilty: Making a false police report he was the victim of a battery to Det. Kimberly Murray.
  • Count 5 – Guilty: Making a false police report he was the victim of a battery to Det. Kimberly Murray.

What happens next: A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Cook County Judge James Linn will have discretion in imposing a concurrent or consecutive sentence for each count at a later date.

6:58 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Ola Osundairo sat expressionless as Smollett verdict was read

From CNN's Bill Kirkos

Ola Osundairo watched the Jussie Smollett verdict being read while sitting in the court overflow room.  

Sitting in front of a big monitor that carried the signal live from the courtroom, Ola sat quietly, without expression, while the verdict was read. His expression never changed. 

About a minute after the verdict was read, while holding hands with a woman sitting next to him, Ola looked down at the floor for over a minute.

Bola Osundairo, his brother, was not at the courthouse as he is scheduled to fight in a boxing match in Louisiana tonight, according to his attorney Gloria Rodriguez.

Some context: Last week, brothers Bola and Ola Osundairo testified that Smollett, who is Black and gay, directed and paid them to carry out a sham anti-gay and racist attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage.

Their testimony, as well as that of five Chicago police investigators, formed the core of the prosecution's case against Smollett.

Read more about how the case unfolded here.

7:19 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Smollett appeared rigid and gazed straight ahead following reading of the verdict

From CNN's Omar Jimenez

Jussie Smollett appeared rigid after the verdict was read in court Thursday evening.

He did not move and was seen gazing straight ahead. His fingers were interlaced in his hands on the table straight in front of him.

Smollett didn't look at his family, the judge, or anyone except for straight ahead in the direction of the jury.

The former "Empire" actor was found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in January 2019. He was acquitted on one count of felony disorderly conduct.

6:27 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Jussie Smollett found guilty on 5 of 6 counts of felony disorderly conduct

From CNN's Omar Jimenez

(Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)
(Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)

Jussie Smollett has been found guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct by a Chicago jury for making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019.

Smollett was also acquitted on one count of felony disorderly conduct.

Smollett took the stand and testified before the jury that he never lied to police and denied orchestrating the attack on himself.

Prosecutors sought to show that the former “Empire” actor made false reports to police after paying Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to carry out a staged hate crime attack against him to garner sympathetic media coverage.

A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Cook County Judge James Linn will have discretion in imposing a concurrent or consecutive sentence for each count at a later date.

6:18 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

NOW: Verdict being read in Jussie Smollett trial

The verdict is being read in the trial of Jussie Smollett.

The former "Empire" actor was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct on suspicion of making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

6:11 p.m. ET, December 9, 2021

Jussie Smollett arrives at the courthouse

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has just arrived at the courthouse where a verdict will soon be read.

Smollett faces six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019. The former "Empire" actor has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly denied making up or orchestrating the attack.