(Washington) L’acteur américain Jussie Smollett a été reconnu coupable jeudi par un tribunal de Chicago d’avoir mis en scène en 2019 une agression raciste et homophobe dont il se disait victime et qui avait provoqué à ‘une digvague nationation in the United States of America.
The 39-year-old gay and African American comedian was accused of “plotting” a fake assault by paying two brothers of Nigerian descent $3,500, and lying multiple times to police in his statements.
The sentence will be pronounced later. He faces three years in prison, but can only be sentenced to community service.
According to US media reports, Smollett’s lawyer, Nene Uchi, announced that the actor intends to appeal. He said, “The verdict is inconsistent.” “We are 100% confident that we will win this case on appeal,” he said during a press conference following the ruling.
The fallen star of the hit TV series empireJussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty.
He has always claimed that he was attacked in the middle of the night of January 29, 2019 in a street in a northern US city by two masked men, claiming to be supporters of President Donald Trump. They allegedly beat him with racist and homophobic insults and tied a noose around his neck.
“It was not a hoax,” he said in a long-awaited statement on Monday, denying the allegations “100%”.
According to his attorney, Jussie Smollett was attacked by Abimbola and Olabingo Osundairo, two brothers he met on the set.empire, who were motivated by money and one of them was anti-gay.
The actor explained that the $3,500 was to pay for a training and nutrition program developed by Abimbola, who then unsuccessfully tried to hire himself as a bodyguard.
But as for the prosecution, the comedian engineered the attack to advance his career and because he criticized production studios for not reacting after receiving a threatening letter and phone call.
The two brothers, who have not yet been brought to trial, had given indictment against the actor last week.
According to Abimbola Osondaero, the actor “talked about studios that didn’t take the rhetoric of threats seriously.”
“He then told me he wanted me to hit him, and I was supposed to hit him, but not so hard,” said the boxer, who fights nationally among the amateurs.
He agreed, as he felt indebted to the actor who helped him land a small role on the show. He also denied having a romantic relationship with Jussie Smollett.
For his part, Olabenjo Osondaero explained how the actor told him the insults he should utter.
This case has sent shockwaves through a country that remains deeply racially and sexually discriminated against. Jussie Smollett immediately received the support of many personalities from the political and cultural world.
Remote monitoring photos, examination of the three men’s phone data and videos, quickly raised suspicion among investigators who concluded a stage.
Eddie Johnson, then the Chicago police chief, said that “false complaints do real harm”, accusing Mr. Smollett of “exploiting the pain and anger caused by racism”.
The two brothers had fled to Nigeria after the attack. They were arrested upon their return to Chicago in mid-February.
Jussie Smollett was charged with filing a false complaint, but the charges were abruptly dropped in March 2019, for $10,000 and two days of community service.
He was charged again in February 2020 for his alleged role in the assault.
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