American actor Jussie Smollett convicted of staging a racist attack | Local News

American actor Jussie Smollett convicted of staging a racist attack
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This black and gay American actor claimed in January 2019 to have been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on the part of supporters of Donald Trump. An attack which would have been staged and for which he faces three years in prison.

On December 9, American actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty by a Chicago court of having staged in 2019 a racist and homophobic assault of which he had claimed to be a victim, and which had at the time caused a wave outrage in the United States. The 39-year-old African-American and homosexual comedian was accused of having “planned” a fake assault by paying 3,500 dollars (around 3,100 euros) to two brothers of Nigerian origin, and of having lied several times to the police in their statements.

The sentence will be pronounced later. He faces three years in prison, but could be sentenced only to community service.

Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty and appealed

According to US media, Jussie Smollett’s lawyer Nenye Uche has announced that the actor intends to appeal. “The verdict is inconsistent […] We are 100% confident that we will win this case on appeal, ”the lawyer said during a press conference after the verdict was issued.

Fallen star of the hit TV series Empire, Jussie Smollett had pleaded not guilty. He has always claimed to have been attacked in the middle of the night on January 29, 2019 in a street in the metropolis of the north of the United States by two masked men, claiming to be supporters of President Donald Trump. He claimed that these individuals hit him with racist and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck. “It was not a hoax,” he said on December 6 during a much-awaited testimony, denying “100%” the accusations.

According to his lawyers, Jussie Smollett was attacked by Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, two brothers he met on the set ofEmpire, who were motivated by money and one of whom was homophobic. The actor explained that the $ 3,500 was to pay for a training and nutrition program developed by Abimbola, who then tried unsuccessfully to get himself hired as a bodyguard.

But for the prosecution, the comedian engineered the attack to advance his career and because he criticized the production studios for not reacting after receiving a letter and a threatening phone call.

Testimonies for the Osundairo brothers

The two brothers – who were not prosecuted – had delivered the previous week damning testimonies against the actor. According to Abimbola Osundairo, the actor “spoke of the studios which did not take the letter of threats seriously”. This boxer fighting at the national level among amateurs expressed himself in these terms: “He then told me that he wanted me to hit him, and I was supposed to hit him but not too hard.” The man explained that he accepted because he felt indebted to the actor, who helped him get a small role in the series. He also denied having had a romantic relationship with Jussie Smollett. Olabinjo Osundairo for his part detailed how the actor would have told him what insults to utter.

This affair had at the time been very commented, Jussie Smollett immediately receiving the support of many personalities of the political and cultural world.

The telesurveillance images, the examination of the telephone data of the three men and videos, however, quickly sowed doubt among the investigators who had concluded that there was a staging. “False complaints cause real damage,” said Eddie Johnson, then Chicago police chief, accusing Jussie Smollett of “exploiting the pain and anger that emanates from racism.”

The two brothers had fled to Nigeria after the assault. They were arrested on their return to Chicago in mid-February 2019.

Jussie Smollett has already been indicted for false filing of a complaint. Charges suddenly dropped in March 2019, in exchange for 10,000 dollars (approximately 8,850 euros) and two days of community service. He was charged again in February 2020 for his alleged role in the assault.

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