5.9k Share this

Embattled actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail and 30 months probation on Thursday for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019.

“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime,” Judge James Linn told Smollett while announcing the sentence.

Smollett responded to the sentence by repeating, “I am not suicidal!” He said he was innocent that “if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself,” referring to jail.

March 11, 202202:04

The former “Empire” star, 39, was found guilty by a Chicago jury in December on five counts of felony disorderly conduct. He was found not guilty on the sixth charge of aggravated battery.

The charges stemmed from a January 2019 report in which Smollett, who is Black and gay, alleged that he had been brutally assaulted in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.

The actor said two men punched and kicked him, used racist and homophobic slurs, threw a chemical in his face and wrapped a noose around his neck.

The police investigation led to the arrests of Olabingo Osundairo and his brother Abimbola, who worked on the set of “Empire.”

They were eventually released, and Smollett was arrested Feb. 21, 2019, after authorities accused him of recruiting the brothers to stage the attack.

Police said at the time that Smollett orchestrated the phony incident to advance his career, a claim the actor denies.

The judge excoriated Smollett during Thursday’s sentencing, saying he fabricated the tale for the attention. Linn said the false claim hurt genuine victims of hate crimes and that Smollett tried to exploit the real past and current injustices in the U.S.

“You took some scabs off some healing wounds and you ripped them apart for one reason: You wanted to make yourself more famous,” Linn said. “And for a while, it worked. Everybody was talking about you.”

Smollett’s attorneys said they would appeal, but Linn refused requests to stay, or put on hold, the sentence while that is pursued. 

“I’m not staying this. This happens right here, right now,” Linn said.

Smollett raised his fist as he was being led out of court by law enforcement, saying: “I am not suicidal. And I am innocent. I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago.”

Prior to his sentencing, Smollett’s legal team had pushed for either a new trial or a not guilty verdict, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated when the court prevented his lawyers from actively participating in the jury selection process.

In court documents, the team wrote that the court “made numerous trial errors leading up to the trial and during the pendency of the trial.”

His lawyers argued that they were not allowed to ask questions of the potential jurors, preventing them from discovering any possible biases or “questionable impartiality” toward Smollett given the case being a high-profile one.

Linn said Thursday that whatever sentence he could hand down would pale in comparison to the damage Smollett did to himself and his career.

“Your very name has become an adverb for lying,” Linn said. “And I cannot image what can be worse than that.”

Smollett was also ordered to pay around $120,100 in restitution to the city of Chicago and was fined $25,000, the maximum allowed.

Phil Helsel contributed.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like
Oklahoma Girl Scout murders: How Kristen Chenoweth is connected to murders of 3 Girls Scouts on 1977 camping trip

Oklahoma Girl Scout murders: How Kristen Chenoweth is connected to murders of 3 Girls Scouts on 1977 camping trip

Kristin Chenoweth believes getting sick may have saved her life when she…
Tucker Carlson slammed Democrats for seizing on the opportunity to politicize the Buffalo race massacre and attempted to distance himself from the shooter's reference to the 'great replacement' - a conspiracy theory previously echoed by Carlson

Tucker Carlson denounces Democrats for blaming their opponents for Buffalo race massacre

Tucker Carlson slammed Democrats for seizing on the opportunity to politicize the…

Cancer surgery patients fare better with robot surgeons, study finds

Cancer surgery patients fare better with robot surgeons, study finds – with…

What Was the Fail Whale Anyway?

Remember the Fail Whale? Back in Twitter’s early days, the service was…
Orlando Magic win NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place

Orlando Magic win NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place

CHICAGO (CBS Sports) — The NBA held its draft lottery at McCormick…

$19 Beers in Store for Fans at PGA Championship

If you plan on getting sauced at this year’s PGA Championship, bring…

Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ Until Company Proves Its Fake ‘Bot’ Account Claims

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to stall his acquisition of the social…
A set of storms poised to hit New York City and the rest of the tri-state Monday will bring heavy downpours, highspeed winds, and possibly tornadoes - right at the peak of rush hour

NYC to be hit by ‘multiple’ thunderstorms as tornadoes and winds forecast for the tri-state area

A set of severe storms poised to hit New York City and…