The jury in the Jussie Smollett trial believed it was doing the man “a favor” after convicting the actor on five counts of disorderly conduct but not a sixth count, one of the jurors told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The decision turned out to be a struggle for the jury, the juror told the outlet on Friday.
But in the final hour, “we all thought we were doing Jussie a favor,” the juror, who asked to remain anonymous, explained.
The count charged him with lying during an interview with detectives on February 14 when he claimed he had been the victim of an aggravated battery.
The additional five counts of disorderly conduct he was convicted of were for reporting a battery incident and also for reporting a hate crime to authorities following the attack, the Sun-Times report continued:
Essentially, the jurors got hung up on the reasoning behind the last charge and why it was charged differently than the others. “We were told it was an aggravated battery because he said they were wearing a mask,” the juror said. But “in all [of Smollett’s] accounts of what happened, he mentioned a mask.” If prosecutors had charged all the battery counts the same, “I think we probably would have found him guilty” on all six, she said.
It took the group of six women and six men nine hours to make a decision regarding Smollett.
But not all of them were convinced special prosecutors proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt in the beginning of deliberations on Wednesday evening, according to the juror.
“It was not evenly split, but there were some doubters,” she recalled.
It was not that doubters thought Smollett was innocent, the woman explained, but they wanted additional time to review the evidence and discuss it.
“I just hope that [Smollett and his attorneys] know that we went in there with an open mind,” the juror told the Sun-Times. “I listened to both sides. We wanted to make sure that those who had doubts didn’t feel pressured.”
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter said it was standing by Smollett despite the disgraced actor being found guilty.