“Due to the extraordinary circumstances, this verdict cannot be an example for other individuals of what to do.” – Sentencing was set for Aug. 22, 2019. @JudgeEssex says Jussie Smollett “let this opportunity slide.” Says “You weren’t victimized once, but twice.” @ABC pic.twitter.com/ZkYJq3xZC9 — Mark Lamster (@MarkLamsterTV) June 27, 2019
Jussie Smollett was convicted of 16 counts of disorderly conduct on Thursday, according to his defense team.
According to prosecutor, Richard A. Willis, who served as lead prosecutor in the case, the choreographed attack by Smollett on himself and others in downtown Chicago was staged by Smollett because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
At the bench trial, Smollett’s attorney Sam Adam III argued his client’s decision to say a false story was the result of a mental illness, not criminal activity.
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“Jussie is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing,” Adam said in a statement.
“Jussie’s motivation in staging this hoax was to promote his career,” said Paul Provenzano, Smollett’s Chicago-based attorney. “Today’s ruling in no way diminishes the significant work that he has done to bring awareness to issues that matter.”
“During the trial, all who knew Jussie’s innocence came to light, from Nia Long to former colleagues, friends and loved ones,” Jordan Fishbein, another Smollett attorney, said in a statement. “The state’s case was built on little more than conjecture and opinion. All of Jussie’s accusers testified against him, thereby diminishing their credibility.”
After a four-week trial where the jury heard the testimony of 22 witnesses, including Smollett’s cast and crew, the “Empire” actor testified in his own defense last week. In his sworn testimony, Smollett maintained he did nothing wrong and said he was the victim of a hate crime.
A spokeswoman for Jussie said in a statement Thursday, “As was expected, the lie was exposed. Once again, the facts were on Jussie’s side. The truth prevailed.”
The 2019 Jussie Smollett Trial LIVE BLOG: