Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett Proclaims Innocence, Reacts to Jail Sentence in Chicago Courtroom

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After Judge James Linn read his sentence of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in a Chicago courtroom Thursday, the actor once again proclaimed his innocence, and said that “if anything happens” to him while he’s in prison that he did not take his own life.

Smollett, who was convicted in December of lying to police in connection with a staged hate crime, was sentenced to 150 days in jail in a hearing Thursday. He was also fined $25,000, ordered to pay more than $120,000 in restitution, and was sentenced to 30 months of felony probation.

After Linn read the sentence, Smollett addressed the court and once again denied wrongdoing in the case.

“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," Smollett said, standing up at the defense table as his lawyers and sheriff's deputies surrounded him. “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.”

As deputies led Smollett from the courtroom, he repeatedly shouted that he was innocent, and that he was not suicidal.

“There’s nothing I can do to you today that will come close to the damage you’ve done to your own life.” Judge delivers message to Jussie Smollett ahead of sentencing decision.

Smollett was convicted in connection to the Jan. 2019 incident, during which he paid two brothers to fake the attack in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. Smollett was convicted of orchestrating the attack, telling the brothers to shout racist and homophobic slurs and to yell that he was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to former President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Smollett then lied to police on multiple occasions about the attack, and was later charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct by a special prosecutor.

A jury convicted Smollett on five of those counts, each of which carried a maximum of three years in prison.

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