Empire Star Jussie Smollett Sentenced to 150 Days in County Jail for Staging Hate Crime, Lying to Authorities

Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to jail time followed by probation Thursday for staging his own hate crime and filing a false report with police — a little more than two months after a Chicago jury convicted him on five counts of disorderly conduct.

Prior to walking into Cook County Judge James Linn’s courtroom, the 39-year-old actor — known for his portrayal of musical artist Jamal Lyon on Empire — was looking at several possible sentences in connection with the Jan. 29, 2019, incident.

At Linn’s discretion, Smollett received 30 months of felony probation, with the first 150 days spent in jail, for his crimes, PEOPLE confirms.

In addition to his sentence, Smollett will pay $120,106 in restitution and receive the maximum fine of $25,000, Linn ordered.

Before receiving his sentence, Smollett declined to address the court, but his defense team brought longtime friends of the actor to the stand to vouch for his character.

When the sentence was announced, Smollett stood, removed his mask and angrily maintained his innocence before telling the court, “I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go [to jail], I didn’t do it to myself and you must all remember that.”

Smollett’s defense team revealed plans to appeal the sentence.

 

Smollett, an openly gay Black actor, was originally indicted in March 2019 with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report, claiming that, while on his way home from a Subway sandwich shop, two men attacked him late at night.

Those charges were unexpectedly dropped later that same month.

The case against him was later revived by a special prosecutor, Dan Webb, and in early 2020, Smollett was once again charged with disorderly conduct.

 

The indictment against the actor alleges he “knew at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed” when he told police he’d been assaulted by “two unknown offenders.”

During the faux attack, Smollett claimed the black-clad, masked men spewed racist and homophobic slurs at him.

He further claimed the men had put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach.

Authorities said the incident was staged for publicity purposes, and Linn echoed that. “You threw a national pity-party for yourself,” he said from the bench to Smollett before announcing his sentence. “You wanted to make yourself more famous, and for a while it worked.”

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Smollett, prosecutors said, paid $3,500 to two brothers, Abimbola “Bola” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, to help him pull off the staged assault.

Following his arrest, the actor’s run on Empire abruptly ended, with Fox CEO Charlie Collier saying Smollett would not return for the show’s sixth and final season.