Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail Time, Probation for Reporting Staged Hate Crime

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Jussie Smollett was convicted by a Cook County jury in December, when he was found guilty of five of the six class four felony disorderly conduct charges he faced. Today, a judge sentenced Smollett to 30 months felony probation. He’s ordered to spend 150 days in county jail, pay $120,106 to the City of Chicago, and fined $25,000. 

Smollett responded to the sentence by pulling his mask down and repeatedly saying, “I am not suicidal.” He stood and continued, “I am innocent, and I am not suicidal. If I did this then it means I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community. 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.”

Prior to the sentencing, members of his family spoke on Smollett’s behalf while letters written by Samuel L. Jackson, Alfre Woodard, and the director of the Illinois Innocence Project. Judge James Linn cited Smollett’s track record of community service and witness arguments on Smollett’s behalf, but argued that the actor had repeatedly lied in his testimony.

Smollett claimed to police that he was attacked by two masked men in Chicago and experienced a hate crime in January 2019. In March 2019, the actor was indicted on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Those charges were soon dropped, the judge sealed the case, and Smollett’s record was expunged.

The city of Chicago sued Smollett in April 2019, claiming he staged the attack and was responsible for the cost of the criminal investigation. The actor filed his own lawsuit and accused the city of Chicago and various police officers of malicious prosecution.

In February 2020, a new grand-jury indictment accusing Smollett of staging the attack and six counts of felony disorderly conduct was announced. The actor pleaded not guilty.

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