CHICAGO – The Jussie Smollett saga came to a dramatic end Thursday when a Chicago judge ordered him to spend five months behind bars for concocting a “disgraceful” scheme to fake a hate crime, prompting the actor to scream out in protest: “I’m innocent!”
“I could’ve said I was guilty a long time ago!” Smollett bellowed as he was led away in handcuffs and remanded into custody.
“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.”
Before handing down his sentence, Judge James Linn asked Smollett if he’d like to say anything but he declined, with his attorney Nenye Uche explaining he advised against it because of their plans to appeal the conviction.
But following a lengthy monologue from Linn, who excoriated Smollett for pretending to be a hate crime victim, Smollett started shouting to the court when he learned he’d be going to jail, appearing to imply there was some kind of conspiracy against him.
“I am not suicidal. I am innocent and I’m not suicidal. If I did this, then it means that I shoved my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community,” Smollett shouted.
“Your honor, I respect you and I respect your decision, but I did not do this and I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
Linn sentenced Smollett to 30 months of probation, the first five of which he must spend in the Cook County jail, and ordered him to pay the city of Chicago $120,000 in restitution and a $25,000 fine after he was found guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct following his eight-day trial late last year.
As he delivered his sentence, Linn called the actor a “disgrace” and said his performance during the trial, in which he testified on his own behalf, was “pure perjury.”
“You’re not the victim of a racist hate crime, you’re not the victim of a homopobic hate crime, you’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime and that’s shameful especially,” Linn told the court.