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Jussie Smollett sentenced

Jussie Smollett sentenced
Jussie Smollett (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Jussie Smollett, whose meteoric rise and spectacular fall occurred while starring on the series juggernaut “Empire,” during which time he staged a fake hate crime, has been sentenced by a Cook County, Illinois, judge.

Cook County Associate Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 150 days in the Cook County Jail and 30 months probation. He has to pay restitution of $120K and a $25K fine.

Before sentencing, Linn delivered a scorching rebuke of the actor that lasted half an hour.

“There’s a side of you that has this arrogance, and selfishness and narcissism that’s just disgraceful,” the judge said. “You’re not a victim of a racial hate crime, you’re not a victim of a homophobic hate crime. You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that’s shameful.”

Smollett was wearing a dark blue suit and red tie with a black mask and was flanked by a phalanx of legal representatives.

Smollett, 39, was found guilty of five of six class-4 felony counts of disorderly conduct in January 2022 related to lying to the Chicago Police Department about orchestrating his own beating by a pair of men. The nature of the alleged crime, coupled with Smollett’s fame, garnered international attention.

Smollett told police that in late January 2019, he was accosted while walking to a Subway sandwich shop near an upscale high-rise in downtown Chicago — despite the fact that it was about 2 a.m. with subzero temperatures in the city famous for frigid winters. Smollett also claimed that the two men threw a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him while expressing support for former President Donald Trump.

The Chicago Police Department quickly unraveled Smollett’s elaborate scheme and arrested Smollett a month later. Investigators later learned that two friends whom Smollett met on the set of “Empire” who were working as extras, Nigerian-American brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, had conspired with Smollett to hatch the plot. Prosecutors said he paid the pair $3,500 to beat him up as part of a design to gain sympathizers and enhance his fame and dollar value.

The “Empire” show, which starred Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson and became an international sensation (Henson said she received adulation overseas for the first time in her career), quickly plummeted in the ratings and was summarily canceled the following season. Most industry pundits give Smollett’s debacle the lion’s share of the blame for the show’s premature and abrupt demise.

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