The sentencing of former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was a spectacle from start to finish, and it did not even end after he received his sentence.
According to CNN, Cook County, Illinois, Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 30 months of felony probation and 150 days of jail time for lying to the police in his 2019 hate crime hoax. The actor, who is black and gay, falsely claimed that he had been assaulted by two men who shouted racist and anti-gay comments.
In addition, the judge ordered Smollett to pay restitution of over $120,000 and a $25,000 fine.
After Linn handed down the sentence, he asked the actor if he had any questions about the ruling. Smollett did not have any questions, but he did have a statement to make.
“I would just like to say to your honor that I am, I am not suicidal,” Smollett said. “That’s what I would like to say.”
The judge was seemingly a bit confused by the statement, but he accepted it with a simple, “OK.” Smollett was not yet finished.
He turned to the other side of the courtroom and began repeating, “I am not suicidal.” He did this two more times, raising his voice each time.
Smollett then expanded on his claim to add that in addition to not being suicidal, he was also wrongfully convicted.
“I am innocent, and I am not suicidal,” he said. “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 LGBTQ community.
“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.”
Uncomfortable as this outburst was, it is understandable that Smollett would have fears about going to jail. As he said, the nature of his crimes means he exploited both black and LGBT Americans in an attempt to make a name for himself.
By faking a hate crime, Smollett scorned the very groups he claimed to fight for by minimizing actual hate crimes. It was a hypocritical and disgusting scheme, and chances are some inmates will resent his stunt.
With that said, Smollett brought this upon himself. Despite his claims of innocence, the jury found that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and no speech is going to change that now.
Nonetheless, the actor still was not done proclaiming his innocence. As he walked out of the courtroom, he continued yelling and raised his fist into the air.
“I am not suicidal!” Smollett shouted. “I am not suicidal, and I am innocent! I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago!”
“I am not suicidal!” #JussieSmollett was sentenced to 150 days in prison for hate crime hoax. Smollett proclaimed his innocence in an outburst leaving the courtroom.
— Court TV (@CourtTV) March 11, 2022
Smollett already lost in the court of law, but if he thinks screaming and yelling is going to help him in the court of public opinion, he is sorely mistaken.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.