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Jussie Smollett jurors begin second day of deliberations

Jurors were back at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Thursday morning after being sent home without reaching a verdict in the high-profile case the night before.

Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks with his mother, Janet Smollett (left), and sister, Jurnee Smollett (right), out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Tuesday afternoon.
Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks with his mother, Janet Smollett (left), and sister, Jurnee Smollett (right), out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Tuesday afternoon.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cook County jurors weighing in on the fate of Jussie Smollett began their second day of deliberations Thursday morning at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

The panel of six women and six men, including a Black man, began deliberations before 3 p.m. Wednesday and were released more than two hours later.

Smollett, 39, faces six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a hate crime.

Special prosecutors said the “Empire actor staged the January 2019 incident himself.

The special prosecutors’ case rested heavily on testimony from Smollett’s former alleged co-conspirators, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who testified the actor recruited them in the plot to boost his celebrity status.

Smollett’s defense has called the brothers con artists and criminals who plotted against Smollett even as Abimbola Osundairo cultivated a friendship with the star.