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Jussie Smollett Guilty, Plans to Appeal

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty Thursday on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019.

Jurors deliberated over the course of two days following a trial that featured Smollett and his accomplices providing completely different stories during testimony.

Smollett maintained his innocence on the stand and denied the accounts of Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, two brothers he knew from the television show.

Prosecutors pointed to the brothers' testimony and evidence that they were paid by Smollett -- who is Black and gay -- to stage a fake hate crime attack to garner sympathetic media coverage.

Smollett told police after the purported attack near downtown Chicago that he was subject to racist and homophobic slurs by two unknown men, who also poured bleach on him and wrapped a noose around his neck.

Authorities investigated the claims and determined the actor orchestrated the scheme, and a grand jury indicted Smollett in February of 2020.

A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Cook County Judge James Linn will have discretion in imposing a concurrent or consecutive sentence for each of the five counts at a later date.

His defense team said it will appeal the verdict.

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