CHICAGO – Jussie Smollett, who in 2019 said he was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago, was sentenced Thursday to 150 days of jail time and 30 months of probation for lying to police. The actor must pay $120,106 in restitution and was also fined an additional $25,000.
Update 7:39 p.m. EST March 10: Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to 30 months of probation, and the actor must pay $120,106 in restitution, along with an additional fine of $25,000 for lying to police about the alleged attack. Linn also ruled that the actor must serve 150 days of jail time in the Cook County Jail.
Smollett addressed the judge after the sentence was announced, telling him that he was “not suicidal” and was innocent.
“If anything happens to me when I go in there I did not do it to myself,” Smollett said, raising a fist in the air as he was led from court.
“Your very name has become the adverb of lying,” Linn said prior to announcing the sentence.
Linn said that Smollett caused “real damage to victims of hate crimes” and said the jury’s verdict was “accurate and correct.”
“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that’s shameful,” the judge said.
Smollett declined to make a statement before the judge announced the sentence on five counts of class 4 felonies.
Smollett’s decision came after special prosecutor Dan Webb asked Linn to include “an appropriate amount of prison time” when sentencing the actor for his conviction, according to The Associated Press.
Update 5:42 p.m. EST March 10: During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Jussie Smollett’s 92-year-old grandmother said the actor is a “justice warrior” and asked Cook County Judge James Linn not to include prison time in his sentence.
“The Jussie I know and love does not match up with the media’s portrayal of him,” Molly Smollett told the court. “I ask you, judge, not to send him to prison,” Molly Smollett said, later adding, “If you do, send me along with him, OK?”
Update 2:29 p.m. EST March 10: The hearing has begun.
Smollett’s lawyers said there were more than a dozen mistakes in his trial, including the appointment of the special prosecutor, saying that the move was not permitted since there was no request for recusal by the state’s attorney at the time of the appointment.
Defense attorney Tina Glandian said the errors are part of a motion for a new trial for her client, WBBM reported.
Glandian said that the trial should not have happened because of double jeopardy, claiming that Smollett’s community service and the surrender of his $10,000 bond had been the punishment handed out and completed before the trial, a reporter for WBBM live-tweeted from the courtroom.
Update 2:25 p.m. EST March 10: Smollett arrived at court for his sentencing.
Original report: Smollett, who was one of the stars of the TV show “Empire,” was found guilty in December 2021 on five counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. Smollett was acquitted on a sixth count of lying to a detective.
Smollett, 39, told police that in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019, he was confronted by two men on a Chicago street who yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, hit him in the face, poured bleach on him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
Chicago police investigated the case but said they had determined the actor had orchestrated the alleged attack and paid two brothers he knew from “Empire” to stage the incident to raise his public standing, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Disorderly conduct is a class 4 felony in Illinois and carries a sentence of up to three years in prison for each count.
Special Prosecutor Daniel Webb did not file a recommendation for prison time ahead of the sentencing, CNN reported, though he did say the actor was “not repentant at all” when he testified during the trial.
According to The Associated Press, Cook County Judge James Linn can order the maximum sentence, a much shorter sentence or put Smollett on probation, meaning he won’t have to spend time behind bars. And he can order a fine and restitution — the amount of which could reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Smollett is also facing a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago after the actor declined to pay the city $130,106.15 for the police investigation, court documents show. Smollett filed a countersuit in November 2020.