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Jury begins deliberating in trial of Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett
Posted at 9:36 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 17:24:34-05

CHICAGO — The jury began deliberating the fate of former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on Wednesday.

Smollett is accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack against himself in downtown Chicago in 2019.

The jury began deliberating after the prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments.

Prosecutor Dan Webb told jurors there's "overwhelming" evidence Smollett lied about the January 2019 attack.

Smollett's attorney contends the attack was real. NBC News reports that Attorney Nenye Uche pinned the blame on two brothers who testified that they were hired by Smollett to carry out the attack. She called them “sophisticated liars.”

During more than eight hours of testimony on Monday and Tuesday, Smollett has repeatedly denied the attack was a fake, telling a prosecutor "there was no hoax on my part" and that two brothers who testified against him are "liars."

The jury will have to decide whether Smollett is guilty on six counts of a low-level felony for lying to Chicago police.