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Jussie Smollett Yells ‘I Did Not Do This’ After Being Sentenced to Jail for Staging a Hate Crime Against Himself 

Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and 30 months’ probation three years after telling Chicago police officers that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. 

The sentencing comes three months after a jury found the 39-year-old guilty of staging a hate crime against himself in January 2019. The California native was convicted of five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police, although he was acquitted of the sixth count. 

“I’m going to tell you Mr. Smollett, I know that there is nothing that I will do here today that will come close to the damage you’ve already done to your own life,” Cook County Judge James Linn said before handing down the sentencing.

In addition, Smollett will have to pay $125,106.00 in restitution to the city of Chicago as well as a max fine of $25,000. During the trial Smollett’s grandmother, 92-year-old Molly Smollett asked the judge, “not to send him to prison” before adding, “If you do, send me along with him, OK?”

The actor was given the opportunity to speak. “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this,” the star told the judge, before turning to the courtroom. “And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Smollett’s case came to an end on Thursday, Dec. 9, following a two-day deliberation where jury members of a Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago concluded that the star lied to authorities who spent more than $130,000 investigating his allegations — a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three in years in prison as well as a $25,000 fine. Prosecutors told the jury that brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo assisted him in staging a mock attack on the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2019, in downtown Chicago.

At the time, Smollett, a gay Black man, told police two white men wearing MAGA caps beat him, doused him with bleach, and placed a noose around his neck.

“The Skinny” star, who had maintained his innocence throughout the entire ordeal, said his attackers yelled out racial epithets and homophobic remarks. He also alleged that the men verbally declared, “This is MAGA country,” about then-President Donald Trump’s controversial “Make America Great Again” slogan. “There was no hoax,” Smollett testified at the time. 

However, the actor’s story unraveled as police further investigated the incident. In addition, during the trial, the Osundairo brothers testified that the actor paid them $3,500 to help him orchestrate the crime.

In the aftermath, several high-profile public figures, including civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Samuel L. Jackson, have written letters to Judge Linn vouching for Smollett’s character, requesting that the judge grant him leniency ABC Chicago station WLS-TV reported

“Jussie has a long track record of being a deeply engaged and contributing citizen,” the Rev. Jackson wrote in his letter to Linn. “Jussie has already suffered.”

Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, actress LaTanya Jackson, sent a letter to Linn asking him to “please find an alternative to incarceration.”

Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, told reporters at the time that the actor “respectfully disagrees” with the jury’s verdict and that the case would be won on appeal.

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