jail time

Jussie Smollett sentenced to jail, has courtroom outburst

Jussie Smollett again protests his innocence at yesterday's sentencing
Jussie Smollett again protests his innocence at yesterday’s sentencing

Jussie Smollett, 39, has been sentenced by a judge in Chicago to 150 days in jail. He was found guilty in December on five charges of felony disorderly conduct after making false reports about a hoax hate-crime attack in January 2019.

On top of the jail time, the out, gay actor was also sentenced to 30 months of probation and to pay $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago and $25,000 in fines (the maximum allowable for these particular offenses).

Related: The Jussie Smollett saga just took yet another strange turn

Jurors at his trial heard how Smollett had colluded with two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage the attack. The brothers said he paid them $3,500. Smollett claimed the attackers yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, doused him in a chemical bleach-like solution, and put a noose around his neck.

He has consistently denied faking the incident and maintains he’s the victim of a crime.

Judge James Linn allowed cameras into the courtroom to record him sentencing Smollett. Prosecutors had pushed for jail time while Smollett’s defense argued the trial had been unfair.

The judge heard statements from people asking him to show leniency to Smollett, including from Jesse Jackson and actor Samuel L Jackson.

“I ask you, judge, not to send him to prison,” his grandmother, 92-year-old Molly Smollett, told the court. “If you do, send me along with him, OK?”

Related: Jussie Smollett is about to go through some things after yesterday’s guilty verdict

In his 30-minute summing up, Judge Linn blasted Smollett as “profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic.”

He continued, “I don’t think money motivated you at all,” pointing out Smollett earned around $2million a year from his role on the TV show Empire. He said Smollett had damaged the civil rights movement through his actions.

“The only thing I can find is that you craved the attention,” Linn said.

“You took some scabs off healing wounds, you ripped them apart. And for a while, it worked.

“You were throwing a national pity party for yourself.”

“You’re not a victim of a racial hate crime, you’re not a victim of a homophobic hate crime. You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that’s shameful.”

Judge Linn asked Smollett if he had anything to say, but Smollett declined, saying he was following the advice given to him by his attorneys.

However, when the judge read out his sentence, Smollett removed the facemask he’d been wearing and became vocal.

“If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community,” Smollett said, standing up at the defense table.

“Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that,” he said, becoming increasingly agitated.

As he was led from the courtroom, Smollett again shouted out.

“I am innocent,” he yelled, raising his fist. “I could have said I am guilty a long time ago.”

Smollett was led away to begin his jail time immediately, He is expected to serve 75 days of the 150 days sentence. Smollett’s attorney says they plan to appeal the judge’s decision.

After the sentencing, Smollett’s family posted a message to his Instagram, again quoting him claiming innocence and assuring people he was not suicidal.


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