A Jussie Smollett jury member has come forward claiming they decided not to convict the actor on the sixth and final count of his indictment — disorderly conduct in causing a public disturbance — because the other jurors had doubts.
But this juror told “Good Morning America” on Monday that they still believe the accusations he used a racist and homophobic slur while shouting it.
The 12 members of the jury, which announced at 4 p.m. last Friday that they had a hung jury, have all been asked what their reasons were for reaching the decision they did.
Court documents posted by TMZ on Sunday revealed that at some point the entire jury came to this conclusion. But their earlier decision of not convicting Smollett on a disorderly conduct charge seemed to be a sticking point in the case.
“The undercurrent of it was a lot of jurors felt they were doing him a favor by taking it out of his hands,” the juror, who claimed she had to wear a disposable pin during the trial, told “GMA.”
Lawyers for Smollett did not return calls for comment Monday.
During the trial the jury heard an audio recording of Smollett calling himself “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels, telling him, “If I’m going to die, then f—ing die the f—ing way I want to die.”
Then they saw surveillance video that showed Smollett filming a scene in which he said the same to actress Robin Thicke, with footage of him walking away and walking back and making other gestures.
In the jury’s view Smollett was simply exaggerating, the juror said. “He was just playing,” the juror said.
“I did find that, yeah, absolutely. This man did it for entertainment and money. He didn’t think he would get in trouble for it,” the juror said.
But after the verdict, the jurors did not specify what they thought.
Chicago prosecutors had accused Smollett, who is black and gay, of making the song “Empire” a political topic by filing a false police report, claiming he was attacked by a pair of masked men shouting racial and homophobic slurs.
Trial testimony showed that Smollett had written a scene for the upcoming second season of the hit Fox TV show about the record label in which he tells the show’s fictional main character, Cookie Lyon, “Empire is a huge hit, just keep doing it.”
When Smollett mentioned that sort of publicity while on the stand, acting coach Mark Konkol said it was a “disservice to him.”
“If you’re on a show where you have to state facts that can help the writers out or add to the story line, it’s not a good idea,” Konkol said.
During the investigation, Smollett released a statement saying he was “pained and saddened” to have to apologize after initially filing a report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.