“You have harmed the real victims of racist crimes”, said the judge. The American actor, Jussie Smollett, was sentenced on Thursday March 10 to nearly five months in prison by a Chicago court for having staged a racist and homophobic attack in January 2019 of which he claimed to be the victim. This attack had provoked indignation at the time in the United States.
The 39-year-old African-American and gay comedian was found guilty in December of “planned” this false attack by paying 3,500 dollars to two brothers of Nigerian origin, and having lied to the police several times in his depositions.
“You were looking for attention, you wanted to be even more famous”, said the judge, James Linn, during sentencing. He castigated an accused “arrogant, selfish and narcissistic” who has “premeditated to the extreme” a lie that ultimately backfired.
Jussie Smollett, who was to be imprisoned on Thursday evening, will have to do the first one hundred and fifty days in prison and will spend a total of thirty months on probation. He must also reimburse 120,106 dollars (approximately 109,234 euros), an amount corresponding to part of the costs related to the Chicago police investigation.
The actor still maintains his innocence
Fallen star of the hit TV series EmpireJussie Smollett has always claimed his innocence. “I didn’t do that, I’m innocent”, said the comedian after the statement of the sentence, before leaving the courtroom with a raised fist. Jussie Smollett’s lawyers and family had previously implored Justice Linn’s clemency and requested an alternative sentence to jail time.
He claims to have been attacked in the middle of the night on January 29, 2019 in a Chicago street by two masked men claiming to be supporters of President Donald Trump. They reportedly hit him with racist and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck.
According to his lawyers, Jussie Smollett was attacked by Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, two brothers met on the set ofEmpire, who were motivated by money and one of whom was homophobic. But, for the accusation, the actor engineered the attack to advance his career by taking advantage of his notoriety.
The case had caused a shock in a country still strongly marked by racial and sexual discrimination. The actor had immediately received the support of many personalities from the political and cultural world.