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“Empire” actor and singer Jussie Smollett was convicted on five felony counts after staging a hate crime. He falsely reported to the Chicago Police Department a fake hate crime, on Jan. 29, 2019. The now-convicted felon claimed that he was attacked on the 300 block of East Lower North Water Street in Chicago’s Streeterville.
As detectives investigated, they came to the conclusion that Smollett staged the crime. Smollett turned himself in a month later. Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. set the “Empire” actor’s bail at $100,000 and required him to surrender his passport. Smollett was released on a 10,000 dollar bond.
Initially, all charges were dropped on March 26 as part of a deal between prosecutors and defense teams. He was required to perform 16 hours of community service. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel did not agree with the decision — he felt justice had not been served.
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Smollett says he was attacked by two white males who beat him, poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck and called him racial and homophobic slurs.
The reported assailants were identified as the culprits. Their homes were raided by Chicago police who later found evidence that traced the crime back to Smollett.
Police later saw footage of a hardware store in Ravenswood: the men purchased gloves, ski masks, and a red hat. The actor paid both attackers $3,500 who were actually extras on the show of “Empire.”
Smollett had a good career going, was well respected in the industry, and was supported on social media when the incident first occurred. However, since, what many deem to be, the truth has come out, he has been ridiculed, criticized, and chastised for lying. Did he lie for publicity, pity, or did he lie at all?
Opinion News by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
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Inset Image Courtesy of Adam Courtemanche’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License