A Chicago court has sentenced Jussie Smollett to 150 days in jail and 30 months felony probation. He was also fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution. In a courtroom outburst following his sentencing, Smollett maintained his innocence and said he was “not suicidal.”
The Empire actor was found guilty in December of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report after a 2019 incident in Chicago. These charges each carried a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a penalty of $25,000. He was acquitted on a sixth charge.
In handing out the sentence, Cook County Judge James Linn said, “Let me tell you, Mr. Smollett, that there is nothing I can do here today that will come close to the damage that you have already done to your own life. You’ve turned your life upside down by your misconduct and your shenanigans.”
He added, “You took some scabs off some healing wounds, and for one reason: You wanted to make yourself more famous, and for a while it worked. The lights were on you. You were actually throwing a national pity party for yourself.”
On January 29th, 2019, Smollett told CPD that he’d been the victim of a hate crime. The now-39-year-old claimed that two white men approached him in ski masks at about 2:00 in the morning, demanding to know if he was “that f****** Empire n*****?” He added that they attacked him with a rope and bleach before fleeing the scene, shouting, “This is MAGA country!”
Police initially investigated the incident as a hate crime, but soon identified as persons of interest Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, Nigerian brothers who had appeared as extras on Empire. Under threat of battery charges, the brothers quickly admitted that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to carry out a fake attack as a publicity stunt. Prosecutors were able to corroborate this story with a check for that amount, and surveillance footage showed Smollett taking the Osundairos on a dry-run two days before the alleged attack, driving them in his car and circling around the location of the incident.