JUSSIE Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging a homophobic and racist attack on himself.
Smollett will also receive 30 months of felony probation and is ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago.
The actor remained calm as Cook County Judge James Linn delivered the verdict, calling Smollett “profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic” for ruining his life and career.
However, once the verdict was announced, Smollett stood up and began yelling in the courtroom. Raising a fist in the air, he shouted “I am not suicidal” suggesting that “if anything happens” while in jail, he did not take his own life.
“If I did this then it means I stuck my fist in the fears of Black people for over 400 years,” he said maintaining his innocence as he was being taken away to serve his sentence.
“If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
“I am innocent,” he continued. “I could have said I am guilty a long time ago.”
Smollett’s older brother, Jocqui Smollett, said he was “very disappointed” in the ruling and his sister Jazz Smollett called the verdict a miscarriage of justice.
On Instagram, the family wrote: “OUR BROTHER IS INNOCENT AND WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING.”
Smollett will serve half of his 150-day sentence and will be released after 75 days.
Judge Linn said that he was mindful of appeals for leniency from figures such as Jesse Jackson, but was angered by the actor’s wasting of valuable police time, adding that Smollet was seeking attention and fame, causing significant harm to the civil rights movement.
“I don’t think money motivated you at all,” said Linn before the sentencing, pointing out that the Empire actor was making $2million a year.
“The only thing I can find is that you craved the attention.”
Linn said that Smollett had shamed his family, friend and supporters. Multiple people had spoken out in support of Smollett after the initial news of the “attack” had come to light.
“I believe that you did damage to actual hate crime victims,” said Linn, adding “you’re just a charlatan, pretending to be a victim of a hate crime.”
Smollett, who is known for playing musician Jamal Lyon in the hip-hop Fox drama, was arrested for allegedly lying about being attacked in January 2019.
He claimed that he was taken to hospital, alleging two men put a noose around his neck.
At the time, police said the assailants hurled “possible racial and gay slurs”.
After releasing the footage, Chicago cops said the “trajectory of the investigation” shifted, and Nigerian brothers Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, were later released after new evidence emerged during the investigation.
They were no longer considered suspects in the probe.
Cops quizzed Smollett in a follow-up interview and the actor’s lawyers claimed he felt “victimized” by reports that he may have been involved in the attack.
Chicago Police announced Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report at the beginning of March 2019.
The actor was charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct for making what prosecutors say was a false police report about the alleged attack – one count for each time he gave a report – to three different officers.
The Empire star claimed that he didn’t want to call the cops at the time of the “attack” because he “didn’t trust” the police, according to the New York Post.
And he said he was fearful about how the “attack” could’ve impacted his career.
The 39-year-old testified: “I want to play a boxer, I want to play a superhero. I want to blow stuff up.
“The moment I got beat I became a f****t who got his ass whooped.”
Taking the witness stand late last year, Smollett repeatedly denied the attack was a fake, telling a prosecutor “there was no hoax on my part” and that two brothers who testified against him are “liars.”
In another tense moment, Smollett and prosecutor Dan Webb clashed over the use of the N-word.
Webb had read the messages from Smollett’s messages, which prompted the star to ask him not to do it.
Smollett told the court that he refused to give cops his cellphone as he wanted his privacy.
‘LEMON TIP OFF’
During the trial, Smollett testified that CNN host Don Lemon warned that cops didn’t believe he was the victim of a racist homophobic attack.
Smollett said he received a text from Lemon, Fox News reported.
In February 2019, Lemon said the case was “personal” since he and Smollett had been “acquaintances” and had communicated with each other.
Lemon claimed that the actor “lost the fight in the court of public opinion”.
Abimbola told the court that he participated in the hoax attack because he thought Smollett could advance his acting career, according to the Post.
He said: “He explained that he wanted to fake beat him up. I agreed to do it because most importantly, I felt indebted to him, to Jussie.
“He also got me a stand-in role on Empire and I also believed that he could help further my acting career.”
Abimbola said: “He wanted me to punch him but he wanted me to pull the punch so I didn’t hurt him and then he wanted me to tussle him and throw him to the ground and give him a bruise.
‘STAGING THE ATTACK’
“Then he wanted it to look like he was fighting back, so I supposed to give him a chance to fight back and then eventually throw him to the ground and my brother would tie the noose around his neck and pour bleach on him.”
Special prosecutor Dan Webb told jurors that Smollett told the brothers to buy ski masks, red hats, and a rope.
Webb claimed: “He told them to use a rope to make it look like a hate crime.”
The brothers claim that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the “attack.”
When asked about the testimony, Smollett replied: “Fully false, 100 percent false.”
Defense attorney Nenye Uche said the check was for “training” ahead of a music video, not as a payment, Fox News reported.
Meanwhile, Smollett said the check was for fitness and nutritional coaching.
Osundairo told the court that he and Smollett met in 2017 via a mutual friend.
He branded Smollett his “brother,” adding the pair became extremely close as they had sleepovers, visited strip clubs, and smoked weed.
In court, the actor recalled his and Abimbola’s drug-fuelled lifestyle.
Smollett said: “We were in a club, you go to the bathroom, go to a stall, do a bump, do a bump, and then keep going in, and then we went to the bathhouse.”
The actor claimed that they participated in sex acts together.
Abimbola said under oath that he’s heterosexual and testified that he and Smollett did not have a sexual relationship, but admitted he went to the gay bathhouse.
Smollett admitted he was “embarrassed” by his drug use and hit out at those who “weaponized” sexuality.
While on the stand, Smollett revealed that he smokes “blunts” that he rolls in Swisher Sweet cigars.
The singer-songwriter said he used to drive alone and smoke as part of his “creative” process.
Since the alleged attack, Smollett has not appeared in any new TV shows or movies and has been dropped by Empire.
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