#JussieSmollett Jury: False Reports Can Hurt Society, ‘People Know They Can Get Away With It’

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Jussie Smollett was convicted Tuesday on one count of disorderly conduct and acquitted on the other two counts in the Smollett case, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Here’s the jury’s explanation of why they returned the verdict against the “Empire” actor:

1. “False reports are criminal.”

The juror, a 51-year-old black man and legal observer who requested to remain anonymous, said the decision not to convict on the two lesser charges against Smollett was based on the broader issue of how false reports can harm society, the Tribune reported.

“People know they can get away with it. The impact of a false report is just as bad or even worse,” the juror said. “That [lie] can be real life, where somebody gets fired or can’t get the job they want because of that lie. That’s a terrible thing. That’s why we came to our conclusion.”

The man added that using social media, people “can either be helped by something or hurt by something.”

“The damage can be caused,” he said.

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