Former Empire star Jussie Smollett was sentenced to five months in jail on Thursday (March 10) for concocting a hate crime hoax. According to reports, Jussie had claimed to police that he was jumped by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs.
Cook County Judge James Linn ordered Smollett's jail sentence to begin immediately following the hearing. According to Variety, Judge James Linn ordered Smollett to pay $120,000 restitution to the city of Chicago, plus a $25,000 fine, and to serve 30 months of probation.
After the sentence was announced, Smollett loudly maintained his innocence on lying to police about the racist and homophobic attack that he orchestrated himself. He stood up and said, "Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal."
"And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that," he added and continued to shout as he was led out of the courtroom and remanded to custody. The actor's family members echoed his comments.
His grandmother, 92-year-old Molly Smollett, told the court. "I ask you, judge, not to send him to prison. If you do, send me along with him, OK?"
Smollett's attorneys asked the court to limit the sentence to community service, arguing that he had already been punished by the criminal justice system and damage to his career. His attorney later asked that the jail term be stayed, but County Judge James Linn denied the request.
Notably, Smollett was convicted during a trial in December 2021 on five out of six charges of "disorderly conduct," reportedly a Class 4 felony in US, Cook County. The actor apparently was expected to get probation because he had a minimal prior record, but the charges carried a maximum of three years in prison.