Metro Weekly

Jussie Smollett’s lawyer says his client will appeal disorderly conduct conviction

Nenye Uche says he believes an appeals court will overturn a jury verdict finding the former "Empire" star lied to police about an alleged hate crime.

Jussie Smollett – Photo: Chicago Police.

Jussie Smollett’s lawyer says his client will appeal his conviction on five of six charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about a racist, homophobic attack in which he claimed he was attacked by noose-wielding Trump supporters yelling racial epithets at him.

Nenye Uche redeclared his client’s innocence and said he was “100% confident” that his client’s name would be cleared by an appellate court, reports The Associated Press

“Unfortunately we were facing an uphill battle where Jussie was already tried and convicted in the media and then we had to somehow get the jury to forget or unsee all the news stories that they had been hearing that were negative for the last three years,” Uche told reporters after the verdict. 

Smollett, who is Black and gay, has continued to insist over the past two years that, in January 2019, he was accosted by two men yelling “racial and homophobic slurs” at him while they beat him up, poured a bleach-like chemical substance on him, and placed a noose around his neck, declaring, “This is MAGA country.”

But police, after initially believing Smollett’s account, grew skeptical of his claims, especially after he refused to turn over complete phone records to back up his story. Surveillance cameras did not catch the attack on video, and police pointed to several inconsistencies in his story when they pressed him for more details of the attack.

The Chicago Police Department ultimately accused Smollett of staging the attack for publicity because he was allegedly “dissatisfied” with his salary on the hit TV show Empire — a job he later lost after being accused of staging the attack.

Police argued that Smollett misled and lied to police during the course of the investigation, playing on anger over the alleged crime and at former President Donald Trump — all the time relying on caricatures and stereotypes associated with Trump supporters — to generate sympathy for himself as a “victim.”

He was eventually charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police and diverting police resources that could have otherwise been used to investigate other crimes.

Related: Jussie Smollett found guilty on five felony counts

During a week-long trial, Smollett testified that the attack against him really did happen and was not part of some hoax, rebutting claims made by two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, that the actor paid them $3,500 to stage the attack. Smollett called the Osundarios “liars” and claimed he paid them the money for meal and workout plans they provided to him.

Smollett’s attorneys argued in court that the brothers attacked the actor because they are homophobic and didn’t like “who he was.” They also claimed that the Osundarios made up the story about being paid to stage the attack, and accused them of

A Chicago jury deliberated for more than nine hours before finding him guilty on five of the six charges against him. As the jury read its verdict, Smollett showed no visible reaction. He and his family later left the courthouse without comment.

Prosecutors hailed the jury’s verdict as a “resounding message” that the jury believed Smollett did exactly what he has been accused of doing in terms of orchestrating the fake attack.

“Not only did Mr. Smollett lie to the police and wreak havoc here in the city for weeks on end for no reason whatsoever, but then he compounded the problem by lying under oath to a jury,” special prosecutor Dan Webb said after Thursday’s verdict.

Webb also said it was unclear at this point whether Smollett could face additional charges of perjury for lying on the witness stand. He said perjury charges “generally” aren’t issues after a conviction, but it was unclear what would happen in this case.

Cook County Circuit Judge James Linn has set a post-trial hearing for January 27, 2022, saying he will schedule Smollett’s sentencing at a later date. Smollett could face up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine for each charge. But experts have said that, given his lack of a prior criminal record, he would likely be placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.

See also:

Pastor fired by church after appearing in drag on HBO’s We’re Here

West Side Story banned in Middle East due to transgender character

Long Island man charged with threatening to bomb NYC Pride, shoot LGBTQ businesses and people

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