Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail in False Police Report Case
Jussie Smollett has finally learned his fate.
The former Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days in a county jail on Thursday, March 10, for filing a false police report back in 2019 after he told investigators that he was the victim of an alleged hate crime. He was also sentenced to 30 months of felony probation and ordered to pay the city about $120,000 in restitution and to pay a fine of $25,000.
After the sentence, Smollett spoke out in court. “I did not do this,” he said. “And I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself and you must all know that.”
While leaving the courtroom, he said, “I am innocent. If I was guilty, I could’ve said it a long time ago.”
His lawyer said they are filing a motion of appeal. The judge denied the request for a “stay” or pause.
During the sentencing, a letter from Samuel L. Jackson was read in support of Smollett. The actor’s grandmother took the stand to advocate for him, with Smollett wiping a tear after she stepped down. Black Lives Matter and the NAACP also sent letters arguing against incarceration.
Judge James Linn said Smollett’s alleged “hypocrisy is astounding,” saying the sentencing wouldn’t come close to “the damage you’ve already caused yourself.” The judge said Smollett “craved the attention” and was throwing a “national pity party for yourself.” He also said Smollett did “real damage” to victims of hate crimes and was a “charlatan” who went from “riches to rags.”
In January 2019, Smollett, 39, told Chicago police that two masked men placed a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling homophobic and racist slurs. The actor also said the men yelled “MAGA country,” referencing their support for then-President Donald Trump.
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As authorities continued to investigate the incident, evidence began to show that Smollett’s claims didn’t add up. In a press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the actor paid $3,500 for brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo to help him stage the attack to advance his career—a claim that Smollett denied.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office
During the span of his week-long trial in December 2021, the jury heard testimony from the Osundairo brothers and Smollett himself, who denied that the attack was a hoax. However, on December 9, the jury convicted Smollett on five of six counts of disorderly conduct for making false police reports.
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Following the guilty verdict, lawyer Nenye Uche—who represents Smollett—told reporters that their team disagreed with the jury’s decision and planned to file an appeal on behalf of their client.
“The verdict is inconsistent. You cannot say Jussie is lying and Jussie is not lying for the same exact incident. So, we feel 100 percent confident that this case will be won on appeal,” Uche said. “We remain 100 percent confident in our client’s innocence.”
During the sentencing, his lawyer also argued for a new trial for Smollett. The judge denied the request.
— Reporting by Alex Ross, Camryn Duncan and Alli Rosenbloom
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).