The jury to arbitrate the trial of Jussie Smollet, who has been accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in Chicago and has been charged with felony disorderly conduct, has been selected.
A class 4 felony, the crime carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, but experts have said it is more likely that if Smollett is convicted he would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service.
“[The prosecution] has a really strong case,” a former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani said listing the evidence which includes phone records and texts between Smollett and his alleged hired attackers, adding that he believes the odds are stacked against Smollett.
“The prosecution is strong because of corroborating, independent evidence that is consistent with Smollett making a false police report,” Rahmani explained as the two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo told police Smollett paid them $3,500 to pose as his attackers. “What type of explanation can Smollett’s attorney have to justify him contacting the brothers?”
Police reviewed surveillance video from more than four dozen cameras to trace the brothers’ movements before and after the reported attack, as well as a video showing the brothers purchasing a red hat, ski masks and gloves from a beauty supply shop hours earlier. So the selected jurors will also likely take a look at those surveillance videos.
“The judge will consider that Smollett has no history of any arrests nor convictions–and thus will likely give him a probationary sentence. Keeping that in mind, however, this was a case that got national attention, and stirred a lot of anger that Smollett would stage this kind of grotesque racial attack. As well, the City of Chicago spent a lot of money investigating these false charges. Thus, I would not be surprised if the Judge imposes some kind of sentence, considering the nation is watching,” Silva Megerditchian, a criminal defense attorney, who is not on the case, said.
Here’s some original coverage from when it all went down: