Jussie Smollett is maintaining his innocence after he was found guilty of lying to police about being the victim of racist and homophobic attacks.

He appeared on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning, where he discussed the verdict in his first interview since he was released from prison in March. Back in January 2019, Smollett reported to the police that two men yelled racist and homophobic slurs at and attacked him, poured an unknown chemical liquid on him, and wrapped a rope around his neck. About a month after the complaint, prosecutors charged the Empire star with filing a false report, testifying that the actor paid them to commit those acts to gain publicity.

“My entire career, but much more importantly, my entire life, along with my family, represented social justice,” he said. “It’s like finding out that someone is exactly the opposite of who they claim to be. If I had done this, I’d be a piece of s–t. If I had done something like this, it would mean that I stuck my first in the pain of black Americans in the country for over 400 years.”

In March, Smollett was sentenced with 30 months of felony probation, with the first 150 days to be served in county jail, as well as ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago. After his sentencing, an appeals court agreed to released him pending the appeal of his conviction. Smollett has continued denying the accusation, telling the jury that there was no plot initiated by him.

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