Taraji P. Henson is speaking up for her beloved “Empire” co-star Jussie Smollett. Following Jussie’s recent sentencing for the alleged fake hate crime in 2019, Henson spoke up, saying the punishment given didn’t match the intensity of the crime.
Jussie Smollett Was Sentenced To Jail For 150 Days
As The Blast reported, on March 10, Jussie was guilty of staging a hate crime against himself. The actor was convicted of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct for filing false police reports.
The guilty verdict came from Jussie’s inconsistent recollection of the incident. Prosecutor Dan Webb claimed the Hollywood star wasn’t credible with his facts.
In 2019, shortly after the attack, Jussie appeared on “Good Morning America” where he said that he kept the noose tied around his neck until the police arrived.
However, during the trial, while under oath, he testified to removing the rope his attackers tied around the neck and putting it back on in anticipation for the police to arrive.
In addition, Jussie failed to allow the police access to medical, DNA evidence, and cell phone records.
As a result, the prosecutor argued that Jussie enlisted the help of brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to yell racist and homophobic slurs at him as well as try to strangle him with a noose around his neck.
The jury sided with the prosecutor as a judge sentenced Jussie to 30 months of probation without a strict restriction to live in the state of Illinois because of his career as an actor.
In addition, Jussie was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County jail and was ordered to pay restitution of more than $120,000 to the City of Chicago and a fine of $25,000.
Following the verdict’s announcement, Jussie made a statement about being in the right state of mind in response to the judge’s question about understanding the terms of his sentence.
” I am innocent.Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. I am not suicidal,” he declared.
Jussie declared he was suicidal “repeatedly,” making the judge and the rest of the court a witness to his sanity if “something” were to happen to him while he was in jail for the next five months.
Taraji P. Henson Speaks Out For #FREEJUSSIE
Four days after the actor’s sentencing, Henson took to social media to share her thoughts on the verdict.
As you might know, Henson and Jussie share a tight on-screen mother-son relationship in the series “Empire.” However, it seems their bond transcended into reality, and the older actress is quite fun of him.
Alongside a black poster that read #FREEJUSSIE, Henson wrote, “I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime.”
The “Hidden Figures” actress compared Jussie’s case to that of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed in Mississippi in 1955 on the accusation of offending a white woman named Carolyn Bryant.
Henson shared that Till was brutally beaten because of a lie, but no one has been arrested despite Bryant’s admission that her claims were false.
The passionate actress continued, “No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough.”
She noted that Jussie couldn’t get a job because of the case as no one in Hollywood would hire him and that in itself was “prison” for an artist like Jussie.
Henson concluded her post, writing, “My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair. Please #freejussie 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾.”
The Actor’s Sister Jurnee Shows Support
Henson isn’t the only one who has spoken up about the unfair nature of Jussie’s sentence. The convicted actor’s sister Jurnee Smollett took to social media to champion #FreeJussie.
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In an Instagram post, she wrote, Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans. Jussie is innocent. And… you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free. #FreeJussie #StopLockingOurPeople.”
Fans have mixed reactions to Jussie’s sentencing, with many believing that jail time was unnecessary. Others, however, believe five months isn’t too much time to spend for a hoax hate crime.