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Jury Finds Jussie Smollett Guilty Of Lying to Police Over Staged Hate Crime

More than three years after the alleged racist and homophobic attack against him, Jussie Smollett took the stand in a Chicago Courtroom last week to defend his innocence. The former “Empire” actor faced six counts of disorderly conduct.

Witnesses for the prosecution included brothers who testified that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack, which included scripted lines and a specific location to ensure the attack was recorded by a surveillance camera. Prosecutors also pointed out that Smollett’s refusal to turn over important evidence to the police, including his cellphone and DNA samples, only added suspicion to Smollett’s story.

During his testimony, Smollett offered little to his defense but reiterated that “there was no hoax.” He was unable to identify his attackers.

In a recent interview on Court TV, Denver defense lawyer and Court TV correspondent Jeffrey Wolf discussed Smollett’s decision to take the stand.

“He’s an actor, so he should have come across well on the stand,” said Wolf. “But at the end of the day, there’s such a mountain of evidence and such a bad public sentiment…to have somebody so blatantly…potentially fake an incident like that to gain clout, to gain followers is morally reprehensible. He didn’t have much of a story to tell on the stand other than it happened and you must believe. It’s a really weird case. At some point, it’s hard to back down when a lie is so big, but he might have done himself well by doing just that.”

Last Thursday, the jury convicted Smollett of five counts of disorderly conduct after less than nine hours of deliberation. Charges are specific to each time Smollett lied to police in the days after the alleged attack.

Watch the video for details about this case and for more commentary from Denver defense lawyer Jeff Wolf.