Another part of Smollett’s testimony that gave Hope pause was about the noose that the actor claimed the two brothers put around his neck. Taking the stand in his own defense, Smollett said he removed the noose when he returned home after the attack but, at the urging of his friend, put it back around his neck to show police.
“As an African American person, I’m not putting that noose back on at all,” Hope explained.
The Bellwood, Illinois resident also revealed the jurors on the panel didn’t argue with each other and took their time during their over nine hours of deliberation. He also said he was disappointed to be the only Black juror on the panel.
“Because how can we say that this is a jury of your peers when there’s only one African American? And there were plenty there, so you could’ve gotten two, three, four,” he said. “African Americans can handle the truth, too. And we can give an impartial judgment on a case.”
Speaking with the outlet, Hope said he doesn’t believe Smollett deserves jail time and hopes he’ll get a second chance in his acting career. As reported by REVOLT, Smollett will return to court in 2022 for his sentencing. He faces up to three years in prison for the felony disorderly conduct conviction, but is more likely to be placed on probation and ordered to complete community service.