39-year-old actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail and 30 months of probation for orchestrating a racist and homophobic hate crime against himself. Smollett was found guilty in December for lying to the police about the hoax and must also pay $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago.
In 2019, Jussie Smollett reported to the police that he was attacked by two masked men shouting homophobic and racist slurs in the streets of Chicago. Later, it was discovered that the Empire star knew his assailants and staged the attack to attract attention to himself and further his career. The two brothers that assaulted him testified at the trial that they had been paid by Smollett himself, who had also instructed them to make it look like a homophobic racist hate crime.
The final stage of the criminal case (subject to appeal) was on March 10, when the actor was handed the 150-days jail sentence, together with probation and $145,000 in fines and restitution. While delivering his decision, Judge James Linn called Smollett “shameful” for his actions and cited the actor’s multiracial family background, commenting: “For you now to sit here, convicted of hoaxing, hate crimes … the hypocrisy is just astounding”.
Jussie Smollett after the sentencing: “I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, you must all know that.” pic.twitter.com/xe2wYpQJ4O
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 11, 2022
After being sentenced, Jussie Smollett loudly proclaimed his innocence, insisting that he had not done it. “If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community,” he said “Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury but I did not do this.”
During the trial, his attorney read letters from his supporters in an attempt to alleviate the sentence. Among them, there was a letter from Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, in which they vouched for him saying he “comes from a good family” and that “We have often broken bread with this young man as we discussed the right and wrong ways to live”.
Attorney Joe McMahon was asked to read a letter on behalf of the Chicago Police Department and superintendent David Brown, in which it was stated that the city must be compensated for the costs of the investigation on the fake hate crime, which could have been spent on other issues. Brown added that this false report could have a negative impact on actual victims of hate crime, saying that it “made it less likely that real victims will come forward and will continue to suffer in silence”.
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