Jussie Smollett, former ‘Empire’ actor, sentenced to 150 days in prison for prank

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced Thursday to 150 days in county jail for fabricating a 2019 hate crime attack on himself.

Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,000 restitution to the city of Chicago, a $25,000 fine and 30 months probation for the crime.

As Cook County Judge James Linn imposed a sentence, Smollett shouted, “I’m not suicidal. I’m innocent.”

The judge ordered Smollett immediately jailed.

Smollett’s outburst in the courtroom came after he refused to speak on the advice of his lawyers, who said he should consider appeal issues.

“I respect you and the jury, but I didn’t do this. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I don’t do it to myself,” he said. he continued. He left the field with his fist raised in the air.

During sentencing, Linn repeatedly called Smollett “narcissistic, selfish and arrogant”.

The judge cited several aggravating factors in deciding the sentence, including Smollett’s testimony in his own defense.

“This can only be described as pure perjury,” Linn told Smollett.

He also said Smollett’s crimes were “premeditated in the extreme”, another aggravating factor.

The judge said he believed Smollett harmed real victims of hate crimes, who may now be afraid to come forward.

Linn noted Smollet’s pro bono work in civil rights and LGBTQ issues, but added, “You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime.”

Smollett, 39, appeared in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago to hear his fate after a jury convicted him in December on five of six counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the filing of a false police report and lying to police, who spent over $130,000 investigating his allegations.

Prior to sentencing, Linn denied Smollett’s request for a new trial after a lengthy hearing.

“We’ve been talking about it for two years,” Linn said. “I believe that in the end, Mr. Smollett received a fair trial.”

Smollett’s attorneys have said they will appeal.

During Sollett’s trial, the actor testified in his own defense, saying he was assaulted in the street by two masked men, who put a noose around his fellow man and shouted homophobic slurs and words “MAGA country” in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump’s motto “Make America Great Again”.

“There was no hoax,” Smollett said.

The openly gay actor told police that on January 29, 2019, he was walking down a street near his Chicago apartment around 2 a.m. when he was attacked by two men. The attackers allegedly uttered racist and homophobic insults before beating him, pouring him “an unknown chemical substance” and wrapping a rope around his neck.

Chicago police say Smollett’s story of being the victim of an attack began to unravel when investigators tracked down two men, the Abimbola brothers and Olabinjo Osundairo, who they say were seen in security video near where Smollett claimed he was assaulted and around the same time. supposedly occurred.

The Osundairo brothers testified at Smollett’s trial that the actor paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate and stage the crime.

In a stunning move, Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx’s office initially dropped all charges against Smollett in March 2019, despite acknowledging that Smollett fabricated the street attack on him- even in a bizarre attempt to get a raise.

Prior to the decision to drop the charges, Foxx withdrew from the Smollett investigation after it was revealed that she had been in contact with Smollett’s family. She left the decision on the settlement of the case to Joe Magats, Cook County’s first assistant district attorney.

As part of a settlement with prosecutors, Smollett forfeited 10% of a $100,000 bond and preemptively performed community service before the charges were dropped.

“The criminal conviction of Jussie Smollett by a jury of his peers and today’s sentencing should send a clear message to everyone in the city of Chicago that false statements and allegations will not be tolerated,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. “The city feels vindicated in today’s decision that he is held accountable and that we will receive appropriate compensation for his actions.”

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