Celebrity News March 10, 2022
Jussie Smollett Sentenced in Hoax Case: 'I Am Not Suicidal'
Jussie Smollett was sentenced Thursday for his role in staging a hate crime against himself in 2019.
Smollett was given 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation, and $25,000 in fines. He’ll also have to pay more than $120,000 in restitution to the city of Chicago.
Following the sentencing, Smollett pulled down his mask, stating, "I am not suicidal. That's what I would like to say. I am not suicidal. I am not suicidal. I am innocent, and I am not suicidal."
He went on to say, "If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community. 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. I respect you, your honor, I respect your decision — jail time... I am not suicidal."
After his sentencing, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying, “Like all individuals ordered into custody at the [Cook County] Jail, Mr. Smollett will be given a comprehensive medical and mental health assessment… a security assessment, and will be placed in appropriate housing,” adding, that a series of COVID protocols would be followed.
Back in December, a jury found Smollett guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct, while he was acquitted on one count of the same charge.
Jussie was facing six felonies for disorderly conduct and making a false police report. Prosecutors claimed he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself in January 2019, while the “Empire” star insisted in court, “There was no hoax.”
During his testimony at trial, Jussie walked the court through what he said happened as he walked home from a Subway restaurant in Chicago the night of the incident. He said he heard someone yell, “Empire!” and “F----- ‘Empire’ n-----!”
Speaking of the alleged assailant, Smollett said, “This person felt significantly larger than me. They were dressed in dark clothes, a ski mask, and I could only see [their eyes].” He went on, “I would like to think I landed a punch, but I know that I certainly threw one.”
The prosecutors claimed Jussie actually paid brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to “fake beat him up.” The defense says the men really did attack Smollett, while acknowledging Jussie knew the brothers and had a sexual relationship with Abimbola.
While on the stand, Jussie also explained some key points in the case, including claiming a $3,500 check gave to the brothers was not to pay for the attack but for coaching and training services.
He said texts about something “on the low” were actually about an illegal herbal steroid Abimbola had offered to get him to help him lose weight.
Reflecting on how he knew the brothers, Smollett said he met Abimbola at a nightclub in 2017 and they had done drugs together and spent time together at a gay bathhouse.
Abimbola, however, testified that he was heterosexual and did not have a sexual relationship with the actor. He did confirm they had visited the spa together.
When Jussie was asked if Olabinjo knew about his relationship with Abimbola, he said he didn’t believe so.