Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty yesterday on five of six counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report to Chicago police saying he was the victim of a hate crime at the hands of Donald Trump supporters.
Prosecutors successfully argued that Smollett faked the attack, which took place nearly three years ago in January 2019. Now, the 39-year-old faces up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
But his troubles aren’t over yet.
While many legal experts predict Smollett will receive probation and community service, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson believes he may have “exposed himself to jail time” when he testified in court.
“When you testify in a case, the judge now gets a sense of what you said,” Jackson told Don Lemon. “What Jussie Smollett said was resoundingly rejected by that jury. The jury did not buy what he was selling. That’s not lost upon a judge. You came into the courtroom and fabricated.”
“There are people legitimately who were the victims of hate crimes, and how do you diminish them by coming up with something that’s a farce? That’s troubling and you have to punish that.”
Jackson added, “When you’re really on trial for telling a lie and then you compound that by actually lying, it makes a judge — who sits in judgment of you when you’re sentenced — really troubled.”
Smollett’s attorney says the actor plans to appeal yesterday’s verdict, which means this thing is likely going to drag on even longer.
Meanwhile, here’s what people are saying on Twitter…
All of this breaks my heart… in this day and age, I do think that we should be quick to believe victims – namely victims of hate crimes. For #JussieSmollett to be found guilty of (basically) lying about a hate crime now sets actual victims back about 60 yrs. ?????
— Afriyie “Free” Amankwaa (@Afriyie_) December 9, 2021
Jussie Smollett broke the law. He ought to be punished.
Trump and his acolytes and flunkies broke the law. They should be punished.
So why the hell is Jussie subject to more accountability than traitors and seditionists? How does punishing him save America?
— Larry Middleton – Unapologetically Black (@l78lancer) December 10, 2021
NO problem w/ Jussie Smollett guilty verdicts. Faking hate crimes makes it less likely real victims are believed.
But right wing media for some reason far more concerned w/ Smollett than Josh Duggar being convicted of possessing awful child pornography.
— Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) December 9, 2021
What Jussie Smollett did was horrible, but I can’t get over the fact that in America you get more jail time faking a crime than murdering two people.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) December 10, 2021
Jussie Smollett is a marginally talented B-List celebrity who may or may not be delusional. What is more disturbing than faking a hate crime are the people in positions of power who covered for him, enabled him, and initially helped him avoid accountability.
— Eric Matheny ? (@EricMMatheny) December 10, 2021
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I feel bad for #JussieSmollett. I know what he did was wrong, but the way this whole thing has been dragged out has been so dramatic. I feel like if he were white, it would’ve been forgiven and forgotten long ago.
— Lee (@FloridaDem108) December 10, 2021
The Jussie Smollett phony race crime hoax was child's play in comparison to the phony January 6th insurrection hoax
— Vince Langman (@LangmanVince) December 10, 2021
I don't care what the verdict is, I'm glad Josh Duggar was found guilty. #JussieSmollett
— Tyrone Dudley, BCaBA (@TheOnlyTyronly) December 9, 2021
Yes, #JussieSmollett is just another troubled former stage kid and self-serving attention simp. It's easy just to laugh these guys off. But people who intentionally fake crimes for attention have real impact on real victims of real crimes. You have to dissuade that, heartily.
— Lex Jurgen (@Lex_Jurgen) December 10, 2021
Just so I’m clear #JussieSmollett paid some dudes to beat him up & texted them regarding paying them 3500? GUILTY
Meanwhile, #MattGaetz venmo’d money to a known, CONVICTED child sex trafficker for payment to have sex with teenage girls!
Matt’s in Congress, spinning propaganda
— Papi B Dubs (Live Music & Event Producer) (@Papi_B_Dubs) December 9, 2021
While the #jussiesmollett trial has concluded, please remember that people who allege false hate crimes are yet another reason why actual survivors of bias motivated attacks are disinclined to report.
Take time today to center real hate crime survivors.
— Taylor Dumpson (@TaylorDumpsonJD) December 10, 2021
At the very least #JussieSmollett will sleep soundly tonight knowing his attacker has been brought to justice.
— Zac (@Average_Handle) December 10, 2021
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.