Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett's Brother Shares Threatening, ‘Very Morbid-Sounding' Call Family Received

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The brother of Jussie Smollett, who was sentenced to 150 days in jail in connection to a staged hate crime that occurred in Chicago in January 2019, detailed the "threatening" calls their family has received since the former "Empire" actor's conviction.

"You know we see a lot of hate mail online, on social media, and being a celebrity with a long history, Jussie's received a lot of hate mail and many of my family members have received hate mail and hate speech directed toward us," Jojo Smollett said in an interview with NBC 5.

However, he said the call his family received was different -- calling it "very morbid-sounding" and "pure evil" in its message and intention, noting the family's concern since Jussie is now incarcerated.

Here's the message Jojo said the family received:

Hi, this is n***** lives matter. I hope what they do to that guy in jail...Here's what they're gonna do, right? They're gonna take a [redacted] and take that little [expiative], shove it in there and he's gonna go [noise with laughter].

Jussie's other brother Jocqui Smollett announced in a video posted to Instagram Sunday afternoon that Jussie was moved to a psychiatric ward at Cook County Jail. Jocqui stated a note attached to Jussie's paperwork said he was at risk of self-harm and was transferred to a psychiatric unit.

Jocqui disagreed with the move, calling the reported placement an "outrage" and "lack of justice."

"I just want to make it clear to folks, he is in no way shape or form at risk of self-harm," Jocqui said. "He is very stable, he is very strong, he is very healthy and ready to take on the challenge that has ultimately been put up against him."

Jussie's family released a statement Thursday calling the alleged attack on the actor in Chicago "violent" and "unprovoked." 

"We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime," the Smollett family's statement read. "Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed."

A judge on Thursday sentenced Jussie to 150 days in Cook County Jail following his conviction for lying to police about being the victim of a hoax hate crime in 2019.

He began his sentence immediately after learning his fate Thursday.

On Friday, as anticipated, the actor's defense attorneys filed a notice of appeal in Cook County Criminal Court as well as an emergency injunction seeking the actor's release.

An appellate court judge ruled prosecutors have five days to respond to the emergency motion.

The criminal case made international headlines when Jussie, who is Black and gay, reported to police that two men wearing ski masks beat him, and hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him on a dark Chicago street and ran off.

In December, Jussie was convicted in a trial that included the testimony of two brothers who told jurors Jussie paid them to carry out the attack, gave them money for the ski masks and rope and instructed them to fashion the rope into a noose.

Prosecutors said he told them what racist and homophobic slurs to shout, and to yell that Jussie was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to the campaign slogan of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

During his sentencing, Jussie was allowed to make a statement, but chose not to on the advice of counsel, citing a potential appeal in the case.

But just after the judge read the sentence, Jussie 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," Jussie 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 Jussie from the courtroom, he repeatedly shouted that he was innocent, and that he was not suicidal.

In his ruling, Judge James B. Linn said the incident's "extreme premeditation" was an aggravating factor in the case. He also said that he believed Jussie orchestrated the attack to an exacting degree, rehearsing it extensively.

"You turned your life upside down," Linn said. "You destroyed your life as you know it. There is nothing I can do to you today that will come close to the damage you've done to your own life."

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