Nearly three years ago, Jussie Smollett made international news after the then-Empire star insisted he was assaulted in Chicago by two supporters of Donald Trump’s MAGA movement.
It turns out a grand jury actually indicted Jussie Smollett on felony disorderly conduct charges for allegedly making false police reports. Authorities believe Smollett lied about being the victim of a hate crime back in early 2019.
Smollett claimed two unknown men called him racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and wrapped a noose around his neck. The openly gay, African-American actor/singer suggested the alleged January 29 attack was linked to a threatening letter sent to Empire‘s Chicago studio home one week prior.
However, Chicago police investigators determined Smollett allegedly paid Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo $3,500 to stage the fake assault as a way to gain publicity for his career. The Osundairo brothers reportedly worked with Smollett as extras on Empire.
Jussie Smollett denied hiring the Osundairos to carry out a hoax. Jury selection for his disorderly conduct trial is set to begin on Monday (November 29). Legal experts expect Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to testify against the 39-year-old entertainer during the trial.
Prosecutors Dropped Jussie Smollett’s First Set Of Disorderly Conduct Charges
Originally, it appeared Jussie Smollett would not have to stand trial. The office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx surprisingly dropped Smollett’s first set of disorderly conduct charges after he agreed to take part in community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond.
However, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin appointed former United States Attorney Dan K. Webb as a special prosecutor for the case. A second grand jury then indicted Jussie Smollett on the current charges in January 2020. Smollett pled not guilty.
Judge James Linn denied a last-minute effort to get the criminal case against Jussie Smollett dismissed. A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. If convicted, Smollett faces up to three years in state prison and a $25,000 fine.
Empire creators wrote Jussie Smollett off the final season 5 episodes of the Fox show after the hate crime controversy took over the public discourse in 2019. Numerous celebrities, including Empire lead stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P Henson, expressed public support for Smollett after the original charges against him were dropped.