More than three years after reporting a homophobic and racist hate crime against himself that a jury ruled he faked, Cook County Court Judge James Linn sentenced embattled actor Jussie Smollett to 150 days in Cook County Jail and 30 months probation.
After the sentence, Smollett stood up and stated over and over in court that he is not suicidal and he is innocent, The Chicago Tribune noted.
While special prosecutor Dan Webb did not recommend a specific term behind bars, he said Smollett's "serious criminal conduct" surrounding the case coupled with his decision to take the witness stand and lie to a Cook County jury meant that prison time was warranted.
In addition to a prison term, Webb asked Linn to order Smollett to pay $130,000 to the city to cover the police overtime it took to investigate his false claim and serve a significant amount of time doing community service.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx wrote in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed that the justice system failed in the Smollett case.
"On [March 10], the damaging, costly, and disingenuous criminal prosecution of Jussie Smollett came to an end. As Cook County State's Attorney, it pains me deeply to say that, in this particular case, our justice system failed. Chicagoans deserve to know how and why it can, and likely will, happen again across the country," she wrote, in part.
"Given the reputational price Smollett paid, the $10,000 bond we held, and the fact that he'd never been accused of a violent crime, my office made the decision not to further pursue a criminal conviction. This story should have ended there, as thousands upon thousands of non-prosecuted cases do every day.
"Instead, taxpayers have since spent millions of dollars for the criminal prosecution of a hoax. Last year alone there were over 800 murders in Chicago. My administration has vacated over 177 wrongful convictions, 87 of those in the last 3 years. Rather than working collaboratively to stem rising crime or free the wrongly convicted, a small group of people hijacked the judicial system to enact what is best described as mob justice."
Supporters such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. as well as actors Samuel L. Jackson and Alfre Woodard had asked for leniency for Smollett.
On Dec. 10, Smollett was found guilty of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct, a Class 4 felony, alleging he falsely reported to police that he was a victim of a hate-crime attack in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 2019, in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood.
Class 4 felonies carry penalties of one to three years in prison, but also probation or conditional discharge, which is similar to probation but with less strict conditions.