Immediately after Jussie Smollett's sentencing for reporting a false hate crime in 2019, the former Empire star was remanded to begin his 150-day prison sentence. Smollett has spent his first night in Cook County Jail in Illinois. The 29-year-old was taken into custody immediately, screaming as he left the Chicago courtroom. "I'm not suicidal, and I am innocent," he yelled before disappearing through the door. With a fist in the air, he continued, "I could have said I was guilty a long time ago." Smollett is referring to alleging that two white men beat him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him before leaving him with a noose wrapped around his neck and bleach on him on a cold winter evening. Two Nigerian brothers later told police that Smollett orchestrated the entire attack and paid them $3,500 to execute it. Smollett denies such.
In addition to the jail time, he has to pay $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago, as well as a $25,000 fine. Smollett's brother and grandmother spoke on the day of his sentencing to a judge, asking that he not serve time. Letters of support from Rev. Jessie Jackson and actor Samuel L. Jackson were also read aloud in which they asked the judge for leniency in the case.
Smollett was then processed as an inmate, being assigned the booking number 20220310140. He posed for a mugshot still wearing the white dress shirt he had on in court with a blank stare.
The same evening, a message was posted to Smollett's Instagram account that read: "I am innocent and I am not suicidal," it read. The caption states, "OUR BROTHER IS INNOCENT AND WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING. #FreeJussie."
Though the judge admitted that Smollett's crime typically only required probation, the judge pointed out that this case included too many other elements to ignore, adding that investigators spent thousands of hours on resources to solve a fake crime that could have been allotted to other crimes. The judge also called Smollett a narcissist.
Despite his three-year probation, the judge is not requiring that Smollett has to stay in Illinois. Due to Smollett's career, he is allowing Smollett to travel freely and check in with his probation officer virtually.
Smollett's legal team is planning to appeal the verdict. His family is also standing by him citing racism as the reasoning for the perceived harsh sentence.