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11 Mar, 2022 02:17

Court sentences actor Jussie Smollett over fake hate crime

Former 'Empire' actor will spend five months in jail for staging a hate-crime attack against himself
Court sentences actor Jussie Smollett over fake hate crime

Former 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to jail time and received a heavy fine for repeatedly lying to police officers about a purported hate-crime attack he claimed to have experienced in January 2019. 

Smollett will spend the next 150 days in the Cook County Jail, as well as paying $120,000 in restitution and a $25,000 fine for misleading officers who investigated his claim of being a hate-crime victim, a Chicago court ruled on Thursday.

After serving his time, Smollett will be subject to 30 months of probation. Addressing the court after hearing the verdict, he professed his innocence and repeatedly stated that he was not “suicidal.”

"If anything happens to me when I go in there, I didn't do it to myself," Smollett said.

In December last year, the actor was found guilty of five out of six counts of lying to police about the events that transpired on January 29, 2019. Smollett, who is black and gay, told police back then that he was assaulted by two masked men who threw a noose over his head, hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, and shouted pro-Trump slogans.

He initially received an outpouring of support, predominantly from American liberals, including from then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.

As the police investigation unfolded, cracks began to appear in Smollett’s story, however. Two Nigerian brothers later testified that they had been hired by Smollett to stage a hate crime for a fee of $3,500. The actor reportedly gave the brothers money to buy supplies – bleach and a rope – and had them rehearse an attack before the incident.