Even as jurors considered evidence in the trial of actor Jussie Smollett, experts predicted that he would be convicted of fabricating a hate crime nearly two years ago. He was found guilty on five of six charges against him on Thursday.
According to Fox News, critics of his performance on the witness stand called it an “unparalleled disaster” that likely destroyed any credibility he might have had with the jury.
Evidence presented by prosecutors bolstered the allegations that Smollett hired two Nigerian men who pretended to be racist, homophobic supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
The actor claimed that he had been physically assaulted in Chicago, Illinois, by strangers, but his story soon began to unravel.
James White, an attorney in Michigan, determined that Smollett’s ensuing “almost indecipherable” efforts to keep his narrative from falling apart only made things worse in court.
“His story is so unbelievable and in the face of the evidence that no reasonable jury is ever going to buy it,” he said.
Among the pieces of evidence presented during the trial was surveillance video footage of an apparent “dry run” of the fabricated hate crime. Brothers Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo told jurors that they were paid to orchestrate carry out the plan.
“Did nothing wrong”
Smollett, who is openly gay, went on the offensive and claimed that the men legitimately attacked him. He called the prosecution’s case “100% false” and implied that the brothers lied about their role because they are homophobic.
Personal texts between the actor and the brothers weeks after the attack, however, revealed Smollett’s reassurance that they “did nothing wrong.”
The actor seemed intent on creating as much of a media spectacle out of the already high-profile case as possible, providing sordid details of drug use and sex with one of the Osundairo brothers.
Smollett faced six felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to law enforcement. Former U.S. Attorney Neama Rahmani went on to suggest that his “narcissistic” display in court could lead to perjury charges as well.
The story is so bizarre that Smollett’s own attorneys referenced it in closing arguments that some pundits found ironic, asserting: “He’s dumb enough to go into [former President Barack] Obama’s city and pretend there’s Trump supporters running around with [Make America Great Again] hats? Give me a break.”