Why Jussie Smollett Won't Face Charges for Alleged Hoax Letter
Jussie Smollett may not agree with being sentenced to 150 days in prison after being found guilty of a Class 4 felony for reporting a fake hate crime, but at least no additional charges for other elements discovered in the case will be brought on. TMZ reports that Smollett will not face federal charges for allegedly faking an infamous hate letter he said he received ahead of the alleged staged 2019 attack. The actor alleged that he received a threatening, racist, and homophobic letter 8 days before the attack in question. The letter was equipped with scrapbook-style letters with the warning that read, "You will die black f**," along with an image of a noose. Smollett claimed that in the early morning hours of a cold January 2019 morning a little over a week after receiving the letter that he'd been approached by two white men. He claims he was beaten, called racial and homophobic slurs, had bleach thrown on him and noose wrapped around his neck.
Investigators in the attack believe that Smollett actually sent the racist and homophobic letter to himself. The investigators say they believe Smollett did so to position himself at the forefront of the social justice movement amid Black Lives Matter and as a figure within the LGBTQ+ community. Smollett denies the attack was staged and says he's being treated unfairly and sentenced more harshly due to the color of his skin.
Sources tell TMZ the reason Smollett will not face additional charges is due to them believing another charge would be considered unnecessary extra, aka "piling on." The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the office in charge of filing federal charges, did not comment on the matter.
At his sentencing, supporters of Smollett's letters were read in which high profile figures like Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Samuel L. Jackson asked the judge for leniency in his case. They said that Smollett's extensive history of community service is proof that he wouldn't commit such a crime. His brother and elderly grandmother also took the stand, with his brother referencing the injustices of the criminal justice system due to racism and his grandmother condemning the media for their coverage of the case.
Smollett also has to pay restitution in the amount of $130,000. Additionally, he has to pay a $25,000 fine, as well as serve three years of probation post his release.