Actor Jussie Smollett was convicted of staging a January 2019 hate crime against himself in December 2021. Prosecutors argued that Smollett enlisted the help of Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, two brothers who testified that they yelled racist and homophobic slurs and tried to wrap a noose around his neck at Smollett’s instruction.
The former “Empire” actor, 39, was convicted of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct for filing false police reports. The maximum sentencing that he could face was three years in prison for each of the felony accounts.
Jussie Smollett’s Inconsistent Stories May Have Led To A Guilty Verdict
As The Blast previously reported, many felt that the prosecution had made a strong closing argument before the trial closed. Prosecutor Dan Webb undermined Smollett’s credibility when he pointed to the noose that was allegedly tied around Smollett’s neck by his attackers. During an interview with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” shortly after the attack, Smollett had claimed that he had kept the rope around his neck while he waited for the police to arrive.
However, when under oath, Smollett testified that he had removed the rope after the attack and then put it back on when waiting for police to arrive. That inconsistency, combined with Smollett’s decision to withhold medical, DNA, and cell phone evidence from police, may have also significantly contributed to a guilty verdict.
Jussie Smollett’s Lawyers Attempt To Throw Out The Jury’s Verdict
On Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported that defense attorney Tina Glandian asked Judge James Linn to throw out the jury’s guilty verdict and grant Smollett a new trial. Smollett had previously made an agreement with Cook County prosecutors for 15 hours of community service and forfeiting his $10,000 dollar bond. Glandian argued that this agreement violated Smollett’s rights to due process and charges him twice for the same crime.
Glandian argued that “his due process rights have been violated as a result of the (second) indictment, because he was promised not to be hauled back into court and that’s exactly what happened to him.”
A few family members and supporters for Smollett also spoke before the sentencing, arguing for a lighter sentence. Smollett was only convicted of a Class 4 felony, which is the lowest-level felony that one can be convicted of in that state. Although he could face a penalty of three years in prison, legal experts thought that it was likely that he would avoid jail time, given his lack of criminal history and the non-violent nature of the offense.
However, many assumed that Smollett would have to face probation or conditional discharge. Smollett was also expected to have to pay a fine or restitution. City officials have also expressed hope that Smollett will be required to pay more than $130,000 dollars in overtime costs that police incurred while investigating the case.
Jussie Smollett Is Sentenced To…
On Thursday, March 10, the judge condemned Jussie Smollett for “hours upon hours upon hours of perjury” while on the witness stand. Despite condemning Smollett’s actions, the judge sentenced Smollett to 30 months of probation. However, he will not be required to live in the state of Illinois. The judge will allow him to report by phone, as he recognizes that the actor’s career means that he needs to travel for his work.
Additionally, the judge ordered him to pay restitution of over $120,000 dollars to the City of Chicago, along with a fine of $25,000 dollars. The judge also sentenced Smollett to 150 days in the Cook County Jail, starting today.
When asked if he understood his sentencing, a visibly agitated Smollett asked to say something. After saying “I am not suicidal” he removed his mask and spoke loudly and clearly for everyone to hear, proclaiming his innocence.
“I am innocent,” he said loudly. “Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the Jury but I did not do this.” He repeatedly stated, “I am not suicidal,” expressing concern that if “something” were to happen to him while he was in Cook County Jail over the next few months, he did not do it to himself.
His defense team quickly filed a motion to ask the judge to reconsider the sentence and also announced that they will file an appeal to the judge’s ruling.