Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett (Photo: Shutterstock)

One of the jurors in the Jessie Smollett case has spoken anonymously to the Chicago-Sun Tribune about the actor’s trial. Last week, the former Empire star was found guilty of five out of six disorderly conduct charges.

All the charges related to Smollett, 39, lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime.

The juror said they found Smollett’s defense case less convincing than the prosecution, and Smollett’s own testimony lacked credible answers.

She said the defense had relied on character witnesses, whereas the prosecution was “plodding” and “methodical”, using the testimonies of the Osundairo brothers, who carried out the fake attack, to weave a “seamless” case.

Related: Smollett gets testy in court over DMs he sent to alleged attacker before assault

She said the defense produced no witnesses to back up Smollett’s account of what happened. In particular, she highlighted the absence of Frank Gatson, Smollett’s creative director. Gatson was the one to initially call the police, allegedly against Smollett’s wishes. He was on the defense’s list of potential witnesses but was never called.

“We all wanted to hear from Frank,” the juror said, adding it might have supported the things Smollett said.

The defense claimed brothers Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo asked for $1million each from Smollett not to testify, but offered no evidence or testimony to support this claim. This lack of evidence was duly noted by the jury.

The juror said all the jury thought Smollett guilty, but they debated for nine hours as to whether it had been proven beyond reasonable doubt. They also had a hesitation over just one of the charges.

That charge concerned Smollett lying during a second interview with detectives on Feb. 14, 2019. He was charged with falsely reporting an “aggravated battery.” The other five charges related to Smollett reporting a “battery” and a hate crime to officers in the hours immediately after the January attack.

The juror said the sixth charge was an “aggravated” battery because Smollett said the men were wearing masks. They couldn’t understand why that one charge was “aggravated” battery when Smollett had consistently mentioned the masks in all his accounts. In the end, their uncertainty meant they didn’t feel confident convicting on that one charge. In doing so, “we all thought we were doing Jussie a favor.”

The juror added, “I just hope that [Smollett and his attorneys] know that we went in there with an open mind. I listened to both sides. We wanted to make sure that those who had doubts didn’t feel pressured.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision. You’ve got the mother sitting there. You feel bad. We didn’t know what the penalty would be. Are we sending this guy to jail?” she said.

She added she hoped the actor is given probation instead of prison time.

Related: Brother in Smollett case denies homophobia, says he worked at gay club and Pride

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated