Jussie Smollett was sentenced Thursday to 150 days in jail for lying to Chicago police, three years after he falsely claimed he was the victim of a hate crime on the streets of Chicago.
Cook County Judge James Linn handed down the sentence during an in-person hearing and ordered the former Empire actor to pay the city of Chicago $120,000 in restitution for investigating the bogus crime. Additionally, Linn slapped the actor with a $25,000 fine.
“You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime,” Linn told Smollett while announcing the sentence.
Smollett’s lead defense attorney, Nenye Uche, insisted jail would be too dangerous for the actor. “The jails are inundated with the pandemic,” Uche said. “Sending Mr. Smollett to jail is almost like a death sentence. Yes it is.”
Smollett, was found guilty in December 2021 on five counts of disorderly conduct — low level felony charges in Illinois. The actor testified in his own defense during last year’s trial and denied any involvement in the staged hate crime plan.
The case began in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019, when Smollett claimed “two unknown offenders” approached him after he left a Subway sandwich shop.
The actor told police he was beaten, doused with bleach, and had a rope wrapped around his neck as the assailants yelled “racial and homophobic” slurs and shouted “this is MAGA country,” referring to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Two weeks later, Chicago police arrested two brothers — who were friends with Smollett — for carrying out the attack and accused the actor of staging the crime for attention.
“Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” then-Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at the time.
Johnson said Smollett orchestrated the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire.
The two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, later went public. They admitted the whole thing was a hoax and they were paid by Smollett.
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As previously reported, Smollett was originally charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report before the Cook County State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx later faced backlash for the way the case was handled.
Amid the controversy, special prosecutor and former United States Attorney Dan Webb was brought in to take over the case and new charges were filled.