Jussie Smollett Sentenced To 150 Days In Jail For Hate Crime Hoax
On Thursday, the former Empire star Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in county jail in Chicago after he was found guilty of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself in 2019.
He was convicted of five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct in December, related to lying to police and creating a false report. Smollett will also pay $120,000 in restitution, just shy of the reported cost of investigating his case. He will also pay an additional $25,000 fine and serve 30 months of felony probation.
Smollett, 39, became incensed during his sentencing and reportedly screamed during proceedings, “I am not suicidal. I am innocent.” Before he left to be escorted to jail, the actor said to Cook County Judge James Linn, “I respect you and the jury, but I did not do this. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it myself.”
Linn also had harsh words for Smollett, which included calling him “narcissistic” and “selfish” multiple times during his sentencing. He also referred to Smollett’s defense testimony as “pure perjury” and called him a “charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime.”
Smollett’s story allegedly started at 2 a.m. in January of 2019, where he said two masked men shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him, threw a noose around his neck, and hit him. The men were tracked down by police after Smollett reportedly stopped cooperating with the investigation, and identified as brothers Abimola and Olabinjo Osundairo. They are both actors that appeared as extras on Empire and claimed Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett was initially charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct in the wake of the incident, but Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges. She is now being investigated for ethics violations in connection to having improper contact with Smollett’s family during the investigations, which she denies. The case was given to Special Prosecutor Daniel Webb.
Foxx defended her decision to recuse the charges in an op-ed Thursday night. She argued that since Smollett forfeited 10% of a $100,000 bond, hadn’t been charged with a violent crime in the past, and paid a heavy “reputational price” for his actions, pursuing the charges was unnecessary. She wrote Smollett was “indicted, tried and convicted by a kangaroo prosecution in a matter of months.”