Jussie Smollett sentenced in 2019 hate crime hoax

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Jussie Smollett learned his long-awaited fate when he was sentenced on Thursday after being convicted last year of staging a hate crime against himself and lying about it to Chicago law enforcement.

When Smollett returned to Cook County court on Thursday – after much back-and-forth by his defense team and prosecutors over four hours – he was sentenced to 30 months felony probation, restitution to the city of Chicago in the amount of $120,106, a fine of $25,000, and 150 days in the Cook County Jail. 

Asked if he wanted to take the stand prior to his sentencing, “No your honor I don’t want to say anything. Thank you.”

Smollett’s defense team, helmed by lead defense attorney Nenye Uche, tried to get the conviction thrown out by pointing out what they allege was a bevy of “flagrant errors” that worked against the actor during the course of the Smollett trial. 

Counsel team member Tina Glandian said Smollett’s rights were violated and also brought up the idea that “the charges should have been dismissed” given the fact that the Smollett case was initially dismissed and Smollett was given community service and forfeited $10,000.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT CONVICTED OF STAGING HATE CRIME, LYING TO COPS

“At the end of the day a deal is a deal and the case should have been dismissed because of this,” Glandian argued on Thursday, maintaining in earnest that, “We think the jury selection process was flawed.”

“Anyone looking at this jury could tell it was not a jury of Mr. Smollett’s peers in Chicago,” she orated in defense of the actor and singer.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT REPORTED ATTACK: TIMELINE OF EVENTS

Court testimony on behalf of Smollett heard many from the performer’s personal life speak out in support of his character and charity efforts.

Following a statement from the actor’s older brother, Jojo Smollett, in which he pleaded to the court that his brother had already dealt with enough punishment by “Empire” being “ripped away from him before he was even charged,” the “anxiety” that Smollett has already suffered along with the “pseudo house arrest” he has since been on in the midst of his trial, Smollett’s grandmother, Molly Smollett, 92, also took the witness stand and admonished the media while challenging journalists to do better investigative reporting.

Judge Linn also read filed court statements from Smollett’s peers in entertainment, including that of actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, who requested Smollett not be handed any jail time. 

“We’ve known Jussie since he was a baby,” the memorandum stated and added that Smollett “has already suffered.”

JUSSIE SMOLLETT: KEY MOMENTS SINCE ACTOR REPORTED CHICAGO ATTACK

Prosecutor Sam Mendenhall also read a signed statement from Chicago Police Chief David Brown that requested Smollett pay restitution in the amount of $130,106 to the department given the resources deployed in order to properly investigate the legitimacy of the alleged hate crime.

Webb intently requested the judge give Smollett jail time on the basis of three aggravating factors that Smollett engaged in serious criminal misconduct, lied under oath for hours, and that Smollett has shown no contrition for his actions and never accepted responsibility.

After rebuttal by prosecutors, Judge James Linn upheld his belief that Smollett was granted a fair trial and denied Smollett’s request for a new one altogether.

“I’ve never had a case as voluminous as this,” Linn stated to the court. “Public confidence in this case was shaken and the appointment of a special prosecutor was necessary.”

In December, the former “Empire” actor, 39, was found guilty by a jury on five of six counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the 2019 falsely reported hate crime in which he claimed that two men attacked him due to his skin color and sexual orientation.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT LAWYER SAYS THEY ‘100 PERCENT’ PLAN TO APPEAL GUILTY VERDICTS, ‘CONFIDENT’ ON REVERSAL

Among the surprising claims made in Smollett’s testimony was the revelation that the actor received a text from CNN’s Don Lemon, supposedly relaying information that the Chicago Police Department didn’t believe Smollett’s account of what happened.

He was found guilty of telling a police officer he was a hate crime victim, telling an officer he was a battery victim, telling a detective he was a hate crime victim, telling a detective he was a battery victim and then telling a detective again he was battery victim. He was not found guilty on a sixth charge of telling a second detective he was an aggravated battery victim.

Following the guilty verdict in December, special prosecutor Dan Webb addressed the media and told reporters from the courthouse foyer that his message to the jury was simple – Smollett “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 and insulting their intelligence.”

“With the resounding verdict we just received from this jury after one day of deliberations in which they found Mr. Smollett guilty on virtually all charges of doing exactly what we said he did – reporting a fake crime to the Chicago Police Department as a real crime. That verdict was a resounding message by the jury that, in fact, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”

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Webb also delved into the man-hours that he believes went into investigating Smollett’s hoax attack, telling media members that “26 Chicago police officers spent 3000 hours of time, costing the city well over $100,000 for a fake crime that never occurred.”

Added the prosecutor: “And, by the way, a fake crime that denigrates what a real hate crime is. And to use these meanings and symbols that are so abhorrent in our society it’s clear why the police would take it seriously. And they did.”

Actor Jussie Smollett appears with his attorneys at his sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Chicago. The former "Empire" actor faced up to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of staging a hate crime against himself and lying to law enforcement about it.

Actor Jussie Smollett appears with his attorneys at his sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Chicago. The former “Empire” actor faced up to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of staging a hate crime against himself and lying to law enforcement about it.
(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Gloria Rodriguez, the attorney for the Osundairo brothers, also spoke to the press from the courthouse at the time and said her clients “could not be more thrilled” with the guilty verdict, absolving their names that she said were “dragged through the mud.”

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Since being accused of staging the attack, Smollett has maintained his innocence and said during his two-day testimony that “there was no hate crime hoax from my standpoint.”

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