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CHICAGO–Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, 39, was sentenced Thursday to 30 months of felony probation, including 150 days in jail, and ordered to pay restitution of more than $120,000 and a $25,000 fine by Cook County Circuit Judge James Linn.
Jussie Smollett was jury convicted in December on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct stemming from January 2019’s widely publicized false police report. Chicago Police say more than $130,000 was spent investigating his allegations.
During his trial, the actor testified in his own defense, maintaining his story that two masked men wearing hats bearing former President Trump’s “MAGA” motto assaulted him on a street and put a noose around his neck.
Smollett has Hollywood and civil rights support.
Several supporters of Jussie Smollett, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Samuel L. Jackson, had written letters vouching for Smollett’s character and requested leniency, according to ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.
“Jussie has a long track record of being a deeply engaged and contributing citizen,” the Rev. Jackson wrote in his letter to Linn. “Jussie has already suffered.” Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, actress LaTanya Jackson, sent a letter to Linn asking him to “please find an alternative to incarceration.”
Jussie Smollett faced up to three years in prison.
According to Chicago’s ABC7 Chicago:
Chicago police said Smollett’s story of being the victim of an attack began to unravel when investigators tracked down two men, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who they said were seen in a security video near where Jussie Smollett claimed he was assaulted and around the same time it supposedly occurred.
The Osundairo brothers testified during Smollett’s trial that the actor paid them $3,500 to help him orchestrate and stage the crime.
Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx’s office initially dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett in March 2019 despite acknowledging Jussie Smollett fabricated the street attack on himself in a bizarre attempt to get a pay raise.
Prior to the decision to drop the charges, Foxx recused herself from the Smollett probe after it surfaced that she had been in touch with Smollett’s family. She left the decision on the disposition of the case to Joe Magats, the first assistant state attorney in Cook County.
Jussie Smollett’s lawyers have said they plan to appeal the conviction and that Smollett is “100% confident” he will win.