Jussie Smollett, a Black and homosexual actor, was sentenced to 150 days in prison by a court on Thursday, dubbing him a narcissistic charlatan for inventing a hate crime against himself to garner attention while the country grappled with terrible issues of racial injustice. Smollett retaliated by adamantly defending his innocence and implying that he could be murdered in prison.
Following Smollett’s allegation that he was the victim of a racial and homophobic attack, the sentencing and Smollett’s post-hearing outburst concluded an hours-long hearing and more than three years of legal drama.
Before the judge announced the punishment, Smollett declined to make a comment, stating that he was listening to his attorneys’ recommendations. Smollett removed the face mask he wore during the court after Cook County Judge James Linn announced his judgment, declaring himself innocent.
“If I did this, it means I put my fist in the anxieties of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years, as well as the fears of the LGBT community,” Smollett said as his lawyers and sheriff’s deputies encircled him at the defense table. “I respect you, Your Honor, and I respect the jury, but I did not do this.” I’m also not suicidal. And if something bad happens to me while I’m there, it’s not my fault. And I’m sure you’re all aware of it.”
Smollett yelled again as he was escorted out of the courthouse by deputies.
“I am blameless,” she says “He screamed and raised his fist. “I should’ve admitted my guilt a long time ago.”
Smollett was sentenced to 30 months of felony probation and 150 days in Cook County Jail, as well as $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine by the judge. When sentencing Linn for his conviction on five counts of disorderly conduct, special prosecutor Dan Webb asked Linn to include “an appropriate amount of prison time.”
“His actions vilified hate crimes, “After the hearing, Webb stated. “His actions will deter other hate crime victims from coming forward and reporting their crimes to law enforcement.”
Smollett’s lawyers argued that he had already been punished by the criminal justice system and suffered professional damage, therefore the judge should limit the punishment to community service. Smollett’s lawyers also read aloud letters from other supporters, including the NAACP president, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and stars LaTanya and Samuel L. Jackson, pleading with Linn to consider the case’s impact on Smollett’s life and career.
Several supporters expressed concerns that Smollett’s safety would be jeopardized in prison, citing his color, sexual orientation, and Jewish ancestry.
Linn said he took those pleas for leniency into account, as well as Smollett’s previous efforts and financial support for social justice organizations. However, considering Smollett’s mixed family background and ties to social justice activities, Linn called him a narcissist and declared himself surprised by his conduct.
Linn denied the defense’s motion to overturn the jury’s decision on legal grounds before the sentencing section of the hearing began. Such motions are rarely granted by judges.
Smollett was facing up to three years in prison for each of the five felony counts of disorderly conduct he was convicted on, including the charge of lying to police. On the sixth count, he was found not guilty.