Actor Jussie Smollett, a former star of the TV drama 'Empire,' was found guilty on Thursday of faking a hate crime against himself in order to generate sympathy and further his career, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors claim Smollett, who is openly homosexual, lied to police when he said he was assaulted by two masked people on a dark Chicago street in January 2019.
The individuals allegedly put a noose around Smollett's neck and poured chemicals on him while chanting racist and homophobic obscenities and expressing support for former President Donald Trump.
A month after the alleged assault, police arrested Smollett, claiming that he recruited two brothers for $3,500 to orchestrate the attack in order to boost his showbiz reputation. He pled not guilty to six counts of felony disorderly conduct in the end.
The actor received serious injuries, according to an emergency department doctor who attended him the night of the attack.
After the incident, Smollett's acting career took a hit. In the last season of 'Empire,' a Fox television hip-hop drama that completed a five-year run in 2020, he lost his role as a singer-songwriter.
In the spring of 2019, the Cook County state's attorney's office dismissed a 16-count charge against Smollett in exchange for his forfeiting his $10,000 bond without admitting culpability.
The reversal was criticized by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city's police superintendent, who called it a "miscarriage of justice."
A special prosecutor was assigned to the case in June 2019. The special prosecutor recommended charging Smollett again after a five-month investigation, and a grand jury delivered a six-count felony disorderly conduct indictment.