Everything you need to know about the Jussie Smollett case 2:35
(WABNEWS Chicago) – Jussie Smollett was sentenced by a Cook County judge to approximately 5 months in prison Thursday for making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019. The actor must also pay a restitution of US$120,106 along with a US$25,000 fine, the maximum amount, according to the judge. Smollett will also face 30 months of felony probation.
Just before he was arrested, Jussie Smollett yelled that he is innocent despite respecting the judge and jury, he said. He also made sure to yell “I’m not suicidal!”RELATED
In a dramatic scene, as he was being detained, he once again emphatically yelled “I AM NOT SUICIDAL AND I AM INNOCENT”, as his sister Jurnee Smollett yelled, “Stop locking up our black men!”
Smollett was convicted in December on five of six counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was attacked in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019, by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said the two men put a noose around his neck and threw an unknown substance at him, according to Chicago police.
“You put the noose around your own neck,” Judge James Linn said as he gestured to Smollett, who was sitting quietly with his hands clasped on the table in front of him.
“This was planned, it was premeditated to the extreme,” Judge James Linn said in laying out what he considered an aggravating factor during sentencing. “You wrote a script,” Linn continued, adding that Jussie Smollett did it for attention.
Judge Linn also exposed additional aggravating factors, including: the pain caused to actual victims of hate crimes, the damage caused to the city of Chicago, and “the worst of the worst.”
“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime. And that’s embarrassing,” Linn continued as members of the actor’s family shook their heads at some points.
While a disorderly persons conviction for a false report of a crime is punishable by up to 3 years in prison, it is rare for a judge to sentence a criminal with no criminal record to prison on the charge.
Jussie Smollett’s attorneys argued during the hearing that the actor should receive a more lenient punishment, such as probation, citing his lack of a criminal record and the community service he has performed.
“Treat this case like any other low-level felony,” defense attorney Nenye Uche pleaded with Judge Linn. “What does prison accomplish?” he added.
Prosecutors urged Judge Linn to sentence Jussie Smollett to “an appropriate amount” of prison time, saying that in more than three years since the incident occurred, Smollett never expressed regret or took responsibility for his actions and that he lied to the jury when he testified in his own defense. Special Counsel Webb also highlighted the importance of those reporting actual hate crimes and how Smollett’s actions “damage the effort to get people to come forward to report hate crimes.” Webb also asked that Smollett reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of the investigation, as well as a fine.
Video revealed in Smollett case 0:49
Jussie Smollett took the stand during the trial and testified before the jury that he never lied to police and denied orchestrating the attack on himself. Prosecutors sought to prove that the former “Empire” actor made false reports to police after paying Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to carry out a hate crime attack against him to gain sympathetic media coverage.