In January 2019, Jussie Smollett (falsely) reported a police report in Chicago. The Empire actor claimed that he had been a victim of a hate crime, and quickly, law enforcement began to point towards holes in his story and discrepancies in evidence, including surveillance footage (actually, the absence of it) to prove his story. Years later, Smollett bizarrely testified that he’d had carnal relations and did drugs with at least one of his alleged attackers (two of whom he apparently paid to help stage this crime), and long story short, this turned into a real fiasco. In December 2021, Smollett was found guilty on five counts (of Class 4 felonies) involving his false police report.
Fast forward to this week, and Smollett has now been sentenced to 150 days in jail, along with 30 months of probation. He’s also been ordered to pay $145,000 in combined restitution and fines. The actor maintained his innocence while addressing the judge in open court, and he took a moment to warn everyone that he felt his life would be in danger behind bars. Via CNN:
After the judge announced his sentence, Smollett lowered his face mask and said he was innocent. “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this,” the actor told the judge, before turning to the court. “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.”
Just before he was taken into custody, the actor yelled again that he was innocent and raised a fist in the air.
The Recount posted video footage of Smollett’s statement:
Jussie Smollett after the sentencing: “I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, you must all know that.” pic.twitter.com/xe2wYpQJ4O
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 11, 2022
All things considered, Smollett did get off lightly considering the circumstances. The New York Times previously reported each guilty count could have brought a three-year sentence and additional fines, all of which could have potentially added up to fifteen years in prison. If Smollett’s released on good behavior following today’s sentencing, he’ll probably serve less than three months behind bars.