Disgraced Empire actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in prison for “selfishness, arrogance and narcissism” for staging a hate crime hoax that a judge said had “ruined his life”. and designed solely to satisfy his “craving” for attention.
e was also sentenced to 30 months probation and fined $120,000.
Smollett, 39, claims he was attacked in downtown Chicago in the early hours of January 29, 2019 by masked, homophobic MAGA supporters, in a case that caused a stir around the world.
But the story unraveled spectacularly when Smollett was charged a month later with lying to law enforcement.
“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hateful crime, and that’s shameful,” judge James Linn said, adding that the actor “organized a pity party.” harm the nation to oneself”.
He said Smollett was making $2 million a year when he staged a fake hate crime, and that the only reason he could find for it was that Smollett was “hungry for attention.”
“You were so invested in social justice… (that) you took away some scabs to heal some wounds… and it worked,” he said.
“You’ve done some real damage.”
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Smollett has always maintained his innocence in orchestrating the crimes, but was found guilty at his trial in December on five of six counts of disorderly conduct.
Judge Linn continued: “Nothing that I am going to do here today can come close to the damage you have done to your own life.
“You have turned your life upside down with your misdeeds and mischief.
“You’ve ruined your own life as you know it, and nothing any sentencing judge can do to you can compare to the damage you’ve done yourself.”
Smollett looked directly at the judge as he delivered a lengthy, emotionless speech.
“You are the butt of jokes. Comedians, late-night TV hosts, they taunt you. “
“I don’t think there’s anything funny about the hoax… the hate crime.”
During Thursday’s hearing in Cook County Circuit court, the court heard emotional witnesses from famous actors, civil rights leaders and the Smollett family ask for clemency.
A letter from Father Jessie Jackson to the court said Smollett had “suffered enough,” and said he was ready to help in the actor’s “redemptive journey.”
“He was criticized and defamed before the court of public opinion. His professional reputation has been severely damaged.”
Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, neither of whom appeared in court, wrote that they had known Smollett since he was a child.
“We often broke bread with this young man when we discussed the right and wrong way to live,” the letter was read by a friend in court.
“Jussie comes from a good family that we are proud to know so close and the people we know are always ready to provide the support and supervisory support they can provide him in a probation situation. to replace.”
Smollett declined to speak at the sentencing.
Defense attorney Tina Glandian again insisted Smollett was assaulted during a hearing near fire time as she called for the charges against him to be dismissed.
Ms Glandian also claimed the two brothers the jury found had been paid to orchestrate the attack, Abel and Ola Osundairo, should have been charged as accomplices.
Special Counsel Sean Wieber responded by saying that the trial had “completely determined Mr. Smollett’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Mr. Wieber said Smollett tried to blame the media, Covid-19, the judge, the jury and “the entire Cook County justice system” while ignoring “a lot of evidence” against him.
Judge James Linn dismissed defense claims that the brothers should have been charged as accomplices.
“We must remember why we are here,” the judge said.
“Everything about what happened between him and the brothers, the scheme the jury found happened, the plan to meet in the street and pretend to hit him and call his name. .. no crime among them.
“Because Mr. Smollett not only agreed with it, he staged it, according to the evidence, there is nothing you can find the brothers guilty of.
“The only crime that happened in this whole scenario was the police report.”
In an emotional statement to the court, Judge Linn said he said he did not convict Smollett based on public sentiment.
“I note that there is deep public interest in this case,” he said.
“Everyone is watching, everyone seems to be passionately interested for many reasons about this case.
“This is not for the general public. The sentence handed down today is especially for Mr. Smollett. ”
In an unusual move, a victim impact statement on behalf of the entire city of Chicago was read out by special counsel Samuel Mendenhall.
Mr Mendenhall said: “The city is a victim of Mr Smollet’s crimes, as his false reporting cost the CPD scarce resources that could otherwise be spent tackling augmented, real-life crimes. public safety.
Prosecutors called on Smollett to return $130,106 the city spent thousands of hours investigating the hoax during an extreme cold tornado.
Empire music supervisor Richard Daniels was among those who advocated the introduction of character witnesses on Smollett’s behalf.
Mr. Daniels said he has seen the actor’s selfless act when donating his money and time to charities.
Recalling a surprise visit to a Chicago public school, Mr. Daniels said: “His impact as a celebrity and as a wonderfully loving young man was real. is something”.
He describes Smollett as a “charming, loving and caring man” who is aware of his good fortune to have starred in a popular TV show.
“He knew he was a lucky young man,” he said.
“Jussie appreciates that, what he was handed was a game changer for Chicago.”
Jussie’s brother, Joel Smollett, said he was “very confident in his brother’s innocence” and called for leniency.
He said that Jussie’s career was “ripped from him”, even before he was tried, as the court of public opinion decided he was guilty.
“For the past three years, he has been living in anxiety and under house arrest.”
Jussie appeared to wipe away tears as his 92-year-old grandmother, Molly Smollett, brought to the witness box to present an emotional statement.
“Jussie is loved and respected by everyone who knows him, and I ask the judge not to put him in jail, if you do, send me with him,” Ms. Smollett said.
She punished the media for not properly investigating the case.
The court said Smollett had donated $500,000 to nonprofits and spent countless hours of her own time helping others.
Smollett faced a maximum prison sentence of up to three years for each of the five disorderly conduct counts – alleging lying to the police – for which he was convicted.
However, his lack of criminal history and the fact that his convictions are for low-level nonviolent offenders always make him more likely to be sentenced to probation, legal experts said.
In December, Smollett was convicted at trial after two brothers testified that the actor paid them $3,500 to carry out the attack, giving them money to buy ski masks and ropes ropes, instructing them to tie the rope into a noose and then telling them exactly what to shout when they perform the spoofing attack.
Police arrested the actor a month later, saying he paid the two brothers to stage the attack in order to raise his business profile. He ultimately pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct.
Smollett, who knew the men in his work on the Chicago television show Empire, testified that he did not recognize them.
When he arrived at Cook County Court on Thursday, Smollett was surrounded by his mother Janet and several supporters.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/youve-destroyed-your-life-as-you-knew-it-jussie-smollett-sentenced-to-150-days-in-jail-over-hate-crime-hoax-41434948.html ‘You ruined your own life as you know it’: Jussie Smollett sentenced to 150 days in prison for hate crime hoax