Jussie Smollett Sentenced for Faked Hate Crime in Chicago, Has Outburst in Court

Actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to jail time for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself in 2019. After he was sentenced in a Chicago courtroom Thursday, the 39-year-old repeatedly told as he was out of the courtroom, insisting he is not suicidal and is innocent. Smollett was sentenced to 30 months of probation and must spend the first 150 days of his sentence in Cook County jail.

After the sentence was announced, Smollett said he was innocent. "I am innocent, and I am not suicidal," Smollett said with a fist held high in the air, reports CBS News. "If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community. Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury. But I did not do this, and I am not suicidal – and if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that. I respect you, your honor, and I respect your decision."

Special prosecutor Dan Webb recommended jail time for Smollett after he was convicted because of his "serious criminal conduct" and the actor's decision to lie on the stand reports the Chicago Tribune. "Mr. Smollett made the choice that he could deceive that jury, and he went on the stand and lied to them about so many different things," Webb told the court. "It was a ridiculous story."

Webb added that Smollett never apologized for his actions or to the real victims of hate crimes who might struggle to get the police to believe them. Webb also asked Judge James Linn to order Smollett to pay $130,000 to cover the costs of investigating his claims.

Smollett's attorney, Nenye Uche, said he was "shocked" that Webb asked for Smollett to go to jail, calling the recommendation "overkill." Instead, Uche suggested the judge accept Smollett's $10,000 bond forfeiture as his sentence. Then, Uche told the judge that jail time could be a death sentence for Smollett during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smollett's jail sentence will start immediately, Linn said, reports CBS News. The actor was ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to the city and the maximum $25,000 fine. Linn denied a motion to reconsider the sentence or issue a temporary stay while Smollett's team appeals.

"Let me tell you, Mr. Smollett, I know that there is nothing that I will do here today that can come close to the damage you've already done to your own life," Linn said. "You've turned your life upside down by your misconduct and shenanigans, you've destroyed your life as you knew it, and there's nothing that any sentencing judge could do to you that can compare to the damage you've already caused yourself." Linn called the Empire actor "profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic," adding that he did "real damage" to real victims of hate crimes.

Back on Jan. 29, 2019, Smollett told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on his way home. He claimed two men followed him, yelling slurs and throwing an "unknown chemical substance" at him. He also said the men put a noose around his neck. During the trial, prosecutors said Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack, and the brothers testified that Smollett asked them. However, when Smollett took the stand, he said the brothers were referring to a payment he sent them for training sessions and for providing him with herbal supplements. Smollett was convicted in December on five of six counts of disorderly conduct related to filing a false police report.