Jussie Smollett, a former star of the TV serial Empire, was sentenced to 30 months of probation and 150 days in prison in a Chicago court for faking a hate crime on himself. Judge James Linn of Cook County Circuit Court also ordered Smollett, 39, to pay restitution of $US120,000 ($163,000) and a fine of $US25,000.
A jury found Smollett guilty of five of the six felony disorderly conduct counts he faced in December, one for each time he was suspected of lying to police. Prosecutors claim Smollett, who is black and homosexual, lied to cops when he stated he was approached by two masked people on a dark Chicago street in January 2019.
Smollett claimed that the assailants tied a noose around his neck and dumped chemicals on him while chanting racist and homophobic obscenities and expressing support for former US President Donald Trump.
A month later, police arrested the actor, alleging that he hired two brothers $US3500 to arrange the incident in order to boost his celebrity. He ultimately entered a not guilty plea to six counts of felony disorderly conduct.
In spring 2019, the state’s attorney’s office in Cook County dropped a 16-count indictment against Smollett in exchange for his forfeiting his $US10,000 bond without admitting culpability. The reversal was criticised by then-mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s police superintendent, who both termed it a “miscarriage of justice.”
Smollett should be charged again in 2019, according to a special prosecutor appointed to the investigation, and a grand jury agreed. Smollett’s acting career came to a halt after the incident. He lost his position as a singer-songwriter in the final season of Empire, a Fox television hip-hop drama that lasted five seasons and finished in 2020.
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