Smollett was found guilty on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct this week for lying to police and staging a hate crime against himself. He claimed back in 2019 that two white men wearing MAGA hats attacked him, tied a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him while hurling racist and anti-gay slurs.
Smollett repeatedly denied that the hate crime was a hoax, telling the jury that “what happened to me happened.” And when asked directly whether he had ever “staged a hoax,” Smollett said: “Never in my life.”
His defense attorney, Nenye Uche, vowed to appeal the verdict and said he is confident he will win.
“We feel 100% confident that this case will be won on appeal,” Uche said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the route we wanted but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win, especially a case where we remain 100% confident in our client’s innocence.”
Uche added that Smollett is “disappointed.”
“But I will tell you this: I am very proud of him, I’m very, very proud of him,” Uche said. “He’s holding up very strong, he’s committed to clearing his name and he’s 100% confident that he’s going to get cleared by the appellate court.”
Uche claimed the jury’s verdict was inconsistent because Smollett was found not guilty on the sixth count of disorderly conduct.
“Jussie was not accused of doing two different things, he was accused of doing one thing, and charged multiple times for the same incident. A jury cannot come out and say guilty of lying, but not guilty of lying,” Uche said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
The attorney also claimed Smollett’s case had been “prejudged” by the media, despite the fact that most mainstream outlets ran with Smollett’s hoax without once questioning it.
“From the first day of this case, his case has been prejudged, his case has been tried in the media, and it’s unfortunate, this is the United States of America,” Uche said. “We live in a constitutional democracy where everyone is presumed innocent but obviously, if we’re being honest, that hasn’t been the case.”