A Chicago judge sentenced Jussie Smollett to 150 days in jail for staging hate crime and 30 months of probation Thursday for lying to police more than three years after he asked two black men to “fake beat him up” and shout racist and homophobic slurs at him in an elaborate scheme to raise his public profile.
He must also pay $25,000 in fines – the maximum – and the 150 days are part of his 30 months probation.
The actor then told the court angrily: “I am innocent. . . I did not do this.”
As he was being led out, Smollett started angrily shouting in the court: “I did not do this and I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go there I did not do it to myself and you must all know that.”
Smollett, 39, was convicted of five counts of felony disorderly conduct and acquitted of a sixth following his eight-day trial late last year.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years each and while experts said previously Smollett was unlikely to see jail time given his mostly clean criminal record and the non-violent nature of the charges, his decision to take the stand in his own defense ultimately weighed against him.
Throughout five hours of testimony over the course of two days, the former “Empire” actor vehemently maintained there “was no hoax” and at times, grew defensive and combative under cross-examination by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
When the veteran litigator hammered Smollett over text messages he exchanged on the night he claimed he was attacked, he told Webb he did “not understand Instagram.”
“There was no fake attack. … There was an update to my over 5 million followers,” Smollett seethed.
“You’re misrepresenting me to the jury and to the entire court, and it’s not fair,” he complained.
“Without showing the actual Insta stories that I posted, they’re not getting the full story so they don’t understand.”
The remarks prompted a reprimand from Judge James Linn, who told him to “just answer” the questions “without arguing.”
Following the jury’s guilty verdict on Dec. 9, Webb excoriated Smollett for his testimony, which he said compounded the crimes jurors found he committed.
“Mr. Smollett had faked a hate crime and then lied to the police about it and then compounded his crimes by lying to the jury during the course of this trial, insulting their intelligence,” Webb said.
“That verdict is a resounding message by the jury that in fact Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”
Smollett’s attorney Nenye Uche has vowed to appeal the conviction.
“We feel 100 percent confident that this case will be won on appeal,” Uche told reporters on the night Smollett was convicted.
“Unfortunately, that’s not the route we wanted but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win, especially a case where we remain 100 percent confident in our client’s innocence.”