Jussie Smollett

In January 2019, actor Jussie Smollett told police he had been the victim of a hate crime. His account of what happened that night has been disputed, resulting in a messy, public legal battle with the city of Chicago, and an indictment against Smollett on criminal charges in early 2020.

Sam Mendenhall, a lawyer and minister who helped convict Jussie Smollett, reflects on faith and the law.
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo claim they were damaged by a lawyer’s remarks on national TV. Another lawyer claims the brothers are trying to profit off their involvement in Smollett hoax.
The former “Empire” actor was freed on bond while his appeal is pending, and experts say he might avoid more jail time even if the ruling in his case eventually doesn’t go his way.
Sentenced to five months in jail last week, Smollett spent just six days behind bars.
Smollett’s lawyers say they are concerned for actor’s safety, mental health if he remains locked up.
The defendant was given rights guaranteed by both the United States and the Illinois Constitution. Webb acted as a prosecutor should and performed better than what Foxx’s prosecutors could have done.
He will be housed in his own cell “monitored by security cameras in the cell and by an officer wearing a body-worn camera who is stationed at the entrance of the cell to ensure that Mr. Smollett is under direct observation at all times,” the sheriff’s office said Friday.
“You’ve destroyed your life as you knew it,” Judge James Linn told the former “Empire” actor. “There is nothing any sentencing judge could do compared to the damage you’ve already done.”
Smollett’s jail sentence is excessive, but he brought it on himself. Most important, let’s hope we never hear again about “substantial abuses of discretion” from the state’s attorney’s office.
The Cook County state’s attorney also said she will have much to say about Jussie Smollett after the actor is sentenced on Thursday.
Smollett was found guilty by a Cook County jury last month of five counts of disorderly conduct for lying about a racist and homophobic attack on himself in 2019 near his Streeterville neighborhood home.
There’s still time for Jussie Smollett to say what happened.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told Dan Webb’s investigators she herself was surprised by the deal made by her prosecutors to drop charges against the “Empire” actor.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb’s report on the handling of the “Empire” actor’s case by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has been under seal since August 2020.
“I just hope that [Smollett and his attorneys] know that we went in there with an open mind,” the juror told the Sun-Times after the actor was found guilty of staging a hate crime. “I listened to both sides.”
The “Empire” actor was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct, but the jury acquitted him on one count.
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.
The panel of six men and six women, including a Black man, spent 2 1⁄2 hours in deliberations Wednesday. The jurors will return Thursday morning to deliberate.
A defense lawyer said Abimbola Osundairo, who Smollett allegedly recruited for the 2019 attack, asked for the huge payout in exchange for him telling police the actor didn’t plan the hoax.
“I was confused. I looked puzzled. He [Smollett] explained to me that he wanted me to fake beat him up,” said Abimbola Osundairo, who met the actor while he worked as an extra on “Empire” in 2017.
Before the staged attack, Smollett also texted Osundairo, saying, “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?” CPD Detective Michael Theis testified.
Judge James Linn said he expects to start jury selection in the case and hear arguments starting Nov. 29.
Smollett’s attorneys also cannot mention various lawsuits linked to his case, Judge James Linn said.