Actor Jussie Smollett has been sentenced to 150 days (five months) in jail for falsely claiming he was the victim of an assault.
The Empire star appeared in court in Chicago today (10 March) after being found guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime against himself.
Back in December, the 39-year-old was found guilty of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for making up the false crime, which he claimed was a hate crime because he was Black and gay.
Smollett told Chicago cops that he had been the victim of an attack in January 2019. He claimed unknown men assaulted him and poured bleach on him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs before putting a noose around his neck.
However, after police launched an investigation, they found that his account didn’t add up and he refused to hand over his phone to officers.
Days after his claims, he shared a statement in which he said he been ‘100 percent factual and consistent on every level’.
But in the following weeks, cops grew suspicious of his account and he was arrested a month after he made his initial report.
The police said the incident had been set up by Smollett who had paid two brothers to help stage the fake attack for publicity.
The case went to trial, where brothers Olabingo and Abimbola Osundairo, testified against Smollett and claimed that he paid them $3,500 to carry out the fake attack.
Smollett said he wrote the cheque for nutrition and training advice from Abimbola Osundairo while he was going to be out of town, not as payment for Osundairo and his brother to carry out the attack.
Asked by his defence attorney if he gave Osundairo payment for some kind of hoax, Smollett replied: "Never."
Despite his claims in court, a jury reached a unanimous decision after nine hours of deliberation.
As well as his sentencing today, the incident has completely derailed Smollett’s career, who hasn’t appeared on screen since.
Prior to his conviction, PR expert Ronn Torossian told the Metro that whatever the outcome of a trial Smollett’s career was likely to be over for good.
He said: “Maybe this guy will appear on some third rate reality show. But I think that Jussie Smollett’s career in Hollywood is essentially over.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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