Jussie Smollett maintained her innocence during a hearing after a judge sentenced the former Empire actor to 150 days in prison for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack he committed himself to. staged.
ook District Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 30 months of felony probation, including 150 days in county jail. Mr. Linn refused Smollett’s request to have his sentence suspended and ordered his immediate detention.
Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,106 (£91,281) in restitution to the city of Chicago.
Smollett loudly declared his innocence after the sentence. “I’m innocent. I could have said I’m guilty a long time ago,” Smollett yelled as the sheriff’s deputies led him out of the courtroom, ending a row-long sentencing hearing. clock hours.
For you now sitting here, convicted of pranks, hate crimes… hypocrisy is amazingJudge James Linn
Mr. Linn criticized Smollett prior to the sentencing decision and stated that he was deeply shocked by Smollett’s actions because of the actor’s multiracial family background and history of working on behalf of other actors. social justice organization.
“For you now sitting here, being convicted of pranks, hate crimes… acts of hypocrisy is staggering,” Mr. Linn said.
Before Mr. Linn’s sentencing, Smollett’s defense attorney, Nenye Uche, asked Mr. Linn to limit his sentence to serve the community. He said Smollett “has lost almost everything” in his career and finances and asked Mr Linn to give him time to make restitution if that was part of the sentence.
Witnesses from both the state and Smollett testified at his sentencing. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who was called by the state, filed a statement read aloud by Samuel Mendenhall, a member of the special prosecutor’s team.
In the statement, Mr. Brown, who became superintendent in April 2020 and was not in the city at the time of the Smollett police report, said the actor’s false reporting of a hate crime did harm “real victims” of such crimes. Mr. Brown is asking the city to be compensated for his expenses, saying the costs of investigating his claim may have been spent elsewhere in the city.
Smollett’s grandmother, who testified in the defense, asked Linn not to include jail time in her sentence.
Video of the day
Molly Smollett, 92, told the court: “I ask you not to put him in jail. Then she added: “If you do, send me along with him, OK?”
Smollett’s brother, Joel Smollett Jr, told the court that Smollett “was not a threat to the people of Illinois. In my humble opinion he is completely innocent.”
Smollett’s attorneys also read aloud letters from other advocates, including an organizer with Black Lives Matter, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and LaTanya and Samuel L Jackson asking Mr. Linn to consider the impact of the case on with Smollett’s life and career and avoid any detention as part of his sentence.
Other advocates spoke of worries that Smollett would risk jail time, specifically referring to his family’s race, sexual orientation and Jewish heritage.
Smollett declined to make a statement at the hearing. His decision came after special counsel Dan Webb asked Mr Linn to include “an appropriate period of jail time” in convicting the actor on his charges.
Before sentencing began, Mr. Linn rejected the defense’s request to overturn the jury’s verdict on legal grounds. Judges rarely make such moves.
Smollett faces three years in prison for each of the five counts of disorderly conduct – alleging lying to police – for which he was convicted. He was acquitted on the sixth count.
But because Smollett doesn’t have too much of a criminal record and is a low-level nonviolent criminal, experts don’t expect him to go to jail.
Thursday’s sentencing that could be the final chapter in a criminal case, which can be appealed, made international headlines when Smollett, who is black and gay, reported to police that two men Masked ski masked man hit him, and hurled racial and homophobic slurs. a dark Chicago street and run away.
In December, Smollett was convicted in a trial that included testimony from two brothers who told jurors Smollett paid them to carry out the attack, gave them money to buy ski masks, and rope and instruct them to make a noose.
Prosecutors said he told them what he called racist and homophobic slurs, and shouted that Smollett was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to his campaign slogan during the campaign. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Smollett, who knew the men during his work on the Chicago TV show Empire, testified that he did not recognize them and did not know they were the ones attacking him.
Unlike the trial, Mr. Linn agreed to let photographers and a television camera inside the courthouse for the hearing – meaning the first time the public could see and hear Smollett speak in court.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/jussie-smollett-sentenced-to-150-days-in-jail-for-fake-attack-41434444.html Jussie Smollett sentenced to 150 days in prison for fake assault