August 10, 2022

CHICAGO – The Jussie Smollett saga has come to an end – for now. 

A Chicago judge sentenced the fallen star to 150 days in jail and 30 months of probation Thursday for lying to police more than three years after he asked two men to “fake beat him up” and shout racist and homophobic slurs at him in an elaborate scheme to raise his public profile.

“I am innocent!” Smollett bellowed as he was led away in handcuffs and remanded into custody.

“I did not do this and I am not suicidal and if anything happen to me when I go there I did not do it to myself and you must all know that.” 

As he handed down the sentence, Judge James Linn called the actor a “disgrace” and his performance during the trial, in which he testified on his own behalf, as “pure perjury.”

Jussie Smollett appears at his sentencing hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago.
AP

“You’re not the victim of a racist hate crime, you’re not the victim of a homopobic hate crime, you’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime and that’s shameful especially,” Linn told the court. 

“You have another side of you that is profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic and that bad side of you came out during the course of this,” Linn continued. 

“Your performance on the witness stand, this can only be described as pure perjury. You got on the witness stand… you committed hour upon hour upon hour of pure perjury.” 

Smollett, 39, was convicted of five counts of felony disorderly conduct and acquitted of a sixth following his eight-day trial late last year. 

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The raps carry a maximum sentence of three years each and while experts said previously Smollett was unlikely to see jail time given his mostly clean criminal record and the non-violent nature of the charges, his decision to take the stand in his own defense ultimately weighed against him.

Smollett stands with his lawyers at his sentencing hearing on Thursday.
Smollett stands with his lawyers at his sentencing hearing on Thursday.
AP

Throughout five hours of testimony over the course of two days, the former “Empire” actor vehemently maintained there “was no hoax” and at times, grew defensive and combative under cross-examination by special prosecutor Dan Webb. 

When the veteran litigator hammered Smollett over text messages he exchanged on the night he claimed he was attacked, he told Webb he did “not understand Instagram.” 

“There was no fake attack. … There was an update to my over 5 million followers,” Smollett seethed. 

“You’re misrepresenting me to the jury and to the entire court, and it’s not fair,” he complained. 

Smollett paid two Nigerian-born brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to carry out an attack on him to promote his career because he was "dissatisfied with his salary on 'Empire,'" according to court papers.
Smollett paid two Nigerian-born brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to carry out an attack on him to promote his career because he was “dissatisfied with his salary on ‘Empire,’” according to court papers.
AP (2)

“Without showing the actual Insta stories that I posted, they’re not getting the full story so they don’t understand.”

The remarks prompted a reprimand from Judge James Linn, who told him to “just answer” the questions “without arguing.” 

Following the jury’s guilty verdict on Dec. 9, Webb excoriated Smollett for his testimony, which he said compounded the crimes jurors found he committed. 

“Mr. Smollett had faked a hate crime and then lied to the police about it and then compounded his crimes by lying to the jury during the course of this trial, insulting their intelligence,” Webb said. 

“That verdict is a resounding message by the jury that in fact Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”

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While Smollett’s sentence Thursday feels like the last act in the made-for-tv drama, his attorney Nenye Uche has vowed to appeal the conviction. 

Tina Glandian, attorney for Jussie Smollett,  presents the judge during his sentencing hearing Thursday,
Tina Glandian, an attorney for Jussie Smollett, presents to the judge during his sentencing hearing Thursday,
AP

“We feel 100 percent confident that this case will be won on appeal,” Uche told reporters on the night Smollett was convicted. 

“Unfortunately, that’s not the route we wanted but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win, especially a case where we remain 100 percent confident in our client’s innocence.”