The former ‘Empire’ actor faces a maximum of three years in prison for staging a fake hate crime in 2019.
A date has been set for Jussie Smollett’s sentencing. On March 10, the actor/singer will find out his punishment after being convicted of staging a fake hate crime on himself, per CNN.
Smollett, best known for his role in the Fox music drama Empire, was charged with six felony counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to the police, as theGrio reported. The actor, who is gay, was accused of staging a hate crime, saying that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago in January 2019.
Smollett told Chicago police that he was approached by two white men in the early morning hours who beat him, poured bleach on him and aimed racist and homophobic slurs at him.
Following news of the alleged attack and outpouring of support toward Smollett, police launched an investigation that showed Smollett made the story up and orchestrated the so-called hate crime.
Smollett, in fact, hired two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to perform the staged attack. Both brothers testified during the trial.
In this courtroom sketch, actor Jussie Smollett stands with his legal team in a Leighton Criminal Courthouse courtroom on Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Cheryl Cook, File)
Smollett’s defense team argued during trial that it was the Osundairo brothers who had targeted Smollett and staged the attack as an attempt to shake him down for money. Smollett would take the stand during the trial, stating that he met Abimbola in 2017 at a club. He paid the brothers for personal training then had a sexual encounter with Abimbola, something he denies.
After a week-long trial, Smollett was found guilty by a Cook County jury on five out of six counts. As he was convicted of a Class 4 felony, Smollett faces a maximum three-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.
At the March 10 sentencing, the decision will be made by Cook County Judge James Linn. Smollett may only receive probation since he has no previous criminal record.
At the time the investigation started against Smollett, he was still on Empire, which had reached its fifth season. At the time, he was reportedly making $100,000 per episode.
However, following the accusations of the staged attack, Smollett was written out of the remaining episodes of the fifth season and didn’t appear in its sixth and final season.
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