CHICAGO — Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to 150 days in jail for lying to police about being a victim of a hate crime. Smollett was convicted in December on five of six counts for felony disorderly conduct.
Before leaving court on Thursday evening in Chicago the "Empire" actor yelled, with his clenched fist in the air as he exited the chamber, "I am not suicidal!, I am not suicidal! And, I am innocent, I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago!"
Another person in the courtroom, who wasn't immediately identified, yelled at the same time, "Stop locking up our Black men!"
Smollett said he agreed on Thursday with his attorney's advice to remain quiet. Special prosecutor Dan Webb sought incarceration for Smollett. Webb also sought $130,000 in restitution. Sentencing for Smollett began shortly after Cook County Judge James Linn upheld the jury’s verdict from December that found Smollett, who is Black and identifies as gay, guilty of five felony counts of disorderly conduct.
Supporters of Smollett urged Linn not to send Smollett to prison. The former "Empire" actor faced up to three years in prison per count and a $25,000 fine for each count, the Associated Press reported.
Smollett's legal team on Thursday pleaded with the judge as the actor was about to be led away to the county jail, asking for various leniencies and to even suspend the jail sentence while an appeal was filed, to which the judge said that he "respectfully" would deny those motions.
During Thursday's sentencing hearing, the court heard from supporters of Smollett and those who said his crime is a serious matter. Chicago’s police superintendent said the actor's false report harmed “actual victims of such crimes.”
Smollett's brother and grandmother also addressed the court, asking the judge to spare the actor of jail time. During the week-long trial in December, jurors heard testimony from brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who testified that Smollett paid them “to fake beat him up” and helped plan the fake hoax to get publicity.
Smollett maintained during the nearly three-year legal battle that the attack was real.