Jussie Smollett sentenced to 150 days in jail, 30 months' probation before emotional outburst

Jussie Smollett yells 'I am not suicidal!' in courtroom outburst after sentencing

ByDiane Pathieu, Leah Hope, Eric Horng, Rob Elgas, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, March 11, 2022
Jussie Smollett Sentencing
Jussie Smollett Sentencing

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 30 months probation for lying to police about staging a hate crime attack against himself in Chicago, but will spend the first 150 days of the sentence in Cook County Jail, starting immediately.

Cook County Judge James Linn also ordered Smollett to pay $120,106 restitution to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine.

WATCH | Jussie Smollett's emotional outburst in court

Jussie Smollett had an emotional outburst in a Chicago court room after he was sentenced, yelling "I am not suicidal!"

Moments after learning he'd be heading straight to jail, Smollett declared "I am not suicidal!" and "I did not do this!" with one fist in the air as he was taken into custody and removed from the courtroom.

"And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself," Smollett added. "And you must all know that."

Linn excoriated Smollett prior to handing down his sentence for what he referred to as "misconduct and shenanigans."

"I'm going to tell you Mr. Smollett, I know that there is nothing that I will do here today that will come close to the damage you've already done to your own life," Linn said.

In considering the sentence, Linn said Smollett's "extreme" premeditation of the crime was an aggravating factor. He also said the actor had denigrated the experiences of real hate crime victims, calling him a "charlatan" and a liar.

"You got on the witness stand. You didn't have to. You did. You certainly had a right to. But you committed hour upon hour upon hour of perjury," Linn said.

WATCH | Judge Linn's full sentencing remarks

Cook County Judge James Linn's full remarks at Jussie Smollett's sentencing for disorderly conduct.

Smollett walked into the Leighton Criminal Courts building flanked by his family and attorneys for his sentencing hearing at 1 p.m., where his defense team first sought to have the jury's verdict overturned on legal grounds.

"I do believe at the end of the day that Mr. Smollett received a fair trial, that he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury based on the evidence that was presented," Judge Linn said.

The judge denied the motion and called for a break before moving onto the sentencing phase. Witnesses for both the state and Smollett testified at Smollett's sentencing.

Smollett's grandmother, testifying for the defense, asked Linn not to include prison time in his sentence for Smollett.

"I ask you, judge, not to send him to prison," Molly Smollett, 92, told the court. She later added, "If you do, send me along with him, OK?"

WATCH | Family defends Jussie Smollett's innocence after sentencing

Jussie Smollett's family expressed their disappointment after he was sentenced to 150 days in jail.

After court, Smollett's family was visibly upset, expressing disappointment that Smollett received jail time and continuing to defend his innocence.

"I watched my brother go from being a complete victim, which he still is. He was attacked, and he is now going to jail for being attacked," said Jocqui Smollett, his youngest brother. "He is a survivor and he has been completely mistreated. This has to stop!"

Special prosecutor Dan Webb had a more moderated view of the ruling.

"I thought it was the right way to do it. And I do believe that, based on the sentencing he received, that Judge Linn clearly understood exactly what had happened in this case," Webb said.

Smollett's defense attorneys had a much different perspective.

"I have never seen, in my entire career as an attorney, and none of the other attorneys here have ever seen a situation in which a Class 4 felony gets the same treatment as a violent offense," said defense attorney Nenye Uche.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot applauded the judge's ruling, writing: "The criminal conviction of Jussie Smollett by a jury of his peers and today's sentencing should send a clear message to everyone in the City of Chicago that false claims and allegations will not be tolerated. The malicious and wholly fabricated claim made by Mr. Smollett resulted in over 1500 hours of police work that cost the City over $130,000 in police overtime. The City feels vindicated in today's ruling that he is being held accountable and that we will appropriately receive restitution for his actions."

RELATED: Jussie Smollett verdict: 'Empire' actor guilty of disorderly conduct; defense vows appeal

Smollett's sentencing hearing comes three months after the actor was convicted of faking a hate crime against himself. Smollett told Chicago police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Streeterville back in January 2019.

After a long investigation and years in court, Smollett was convicted of five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. He faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison for all counts.

"These are very low-level crimes and it would be extraordinary in a normal case for someone with no meaningful criminal history to face jail time on these crimes, but this is not the normal case," said ABC Legal Analyst Gil Soffer. "Given the notoriety, given what he put the city of Chicago through, I wouldn't be shocked to see some very small amount of prison imposed."

WATCH | Key moments in Jussie Smollett case

Here's a look at the events leading up to Jussie Smollett's trial and conviction on disorderly conduct charges in Chicago.

Several big names came to Smollett's defense, writing letters to the judge asking for leniency.

RELATED: Jussie Smollett trial's only Black juror found case 'sad,' still wonders about motive

Among them was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, writing in part that "Jussie has a long track record of being a deeply engaged and contributing citizen" and that "Jussie has already suffered."

Actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, actress LaTanya Jackson, also wrote the judge a letter, saying in part, "I humbly implore you to please find an alternative to incarceration."

Report on Kim Foxx's office's handling of Jussie Smollett case made public, judge rules

Smollett's brother Jojo said that should speak to his brother's integrity and should justify no jail time.

"My brother has no criminal record, has been a productive citizen of society," said Jojo Smollett. "He has given back to so many communities and has touched so many people's lives and is loved by so many people, as is revealed in the outpouring of support and letters and people have come forth asking for no incarceration."

Cameras were allowed in the courtroom for Thursday afternoon's hearing.