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Jesse Smolett was sentenced to 150 days in prison for false assault

CHICAGO – A judge sentenced Jesse Smolett to 150 days in prison on Thursday, calling a black and gay actor a narcissistic charlatan for staging a hate crime against himself to grab the spotlight as the nation struggles with severe problems of racial injustice. Smolet replied, defiantly maintaining his innocence, and suggested that he might be killed in prison.

Smolet’s sentencing and outburst after the hearing ended with an hour-long hearing and more than three years of legal drama following Smolet’s claim that he was the object of a racist and homophobic attack.

Smolet did not make a statement when given the opportunity before the judge announced the verdict, saying he was listening to his lawyers’ advice. But after Cook County Judge James Lynn issued his verdict, Smolett removed the face mask he wore during the hearing to plead not guilty.

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“If I did that, it meant punching black Americans in that country for more than 400 years and the fears of the LGBT community,” Smolet said, standing at the defense table as his lawyers and sheriff. deputies surrounded him. “Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I didn’t do that. And I’m not suicidal. And if something happened to me when I went in there, I didn’t do it to myself. And you should all know that.”

As deputies led him out of the courtroom, Smolet shouted again.

“I’m innocent,” he shouted, raising his fist. “I could say I was guilty a long time ago.”

The judge sentenced Smolet to 30 months probation for 150 days in the Cook County Jail and ordered him to pay $ 120,106 as restitution to the city of Chicago and a $ 25,000 fine.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb asked Lynn to include “appropriate time in prison” when convicting the actor of five counts of hooliganism.

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“His behavior tarnishes hate crimes,” Webb said after the hearing. “His behavior will discourage others who are victims of hate crimes from going out and reporting these crimes to law enforcement.”

Smolet’s lawyers wanted the judge to limit the sentence to community service, arguing that he had already been punished by the criminal justice system and damaged his career.

Family members repeated these comments.

“Please, judge, do not send him to prison,” his grandmother, 92-year-old Molly Smolet, told the court. She later added, “If you do, send me with him, OK?”

Smolet’s lawyers also read aloud letters from other supporters, including the NAACP president, the Rainbow PUSH coalition and actors Latania and Samuel L. Jackson, who asked Lynn to look at the effect of the case on Smolet’s life and career.

Several supporters spoke of concerns that Smolet would be at risk in prison, citing, in particular, his family’s race, sexual orientation and Jewish heritage.

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Lynn said he had considered these pleas for mercy, along with Smolet’s previous work for and financial support from social justice organizations. But Lynn also denounced Smolet as a narcissist and declared himself astonished by his actions, given the actor’s multiracial family past and his connections to work on social justice.

“The damage you have done is far more than anything else that could have happened to me,” Lynn said. “Now you are a convicted criminal.”

Smolet’s lawyer, Nenie Uche, said he would ask the prison to keep Smolet in custody and planned to appeal both the sentence and the judge’s sentence.

Uche said he didn’t expect Lynn to include prison, but Smolet did.

“He said, ‘Because I’m black, no matter how successful I am, I’m black,'” Uche told reporters after the hearing.

A spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Smolet would have a comprehensive medical assessment, mental health and safety assessment, and a routine process.

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Before the sentencing hearing began, Lynn rejected the defense’s request to overturn the jury’s verdict on legal grounds. Judges rarely accept such requests.

Smolet faces up to three years in prison on each of the five hooliganism charges – a charge of lying to police – for which he was convicted. He was acquitted on the sixth charge.

But as Smolet has no rich criminal history and the sentence is for a low level of nonviolent crime, experts did not expect him to be sent to prison.

Thursday’s appealable verdict is the latest in a criminal case that rose to prominence when Smolett told police that two men wearing ski masks had beaten him up and thrown him into a dark street with racist and homophobic insults. in Chicago and fled off.

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Cook County Attorney Kim Fox has been criticized for her office’s decision to drop its initial charges against Smolet. On Thursday, Foxx uncovered a “ruthless, organized and effective” impetus to pursue Smolet, while other serious crimes remained unsolved or unsolved.

“Just because we don’t like the outcome doesn’t mean we harass prosecutors and bypass the lawsuit to change it,” Fox wrote in a column published by the Chicago Sun-Times. “Smolet was indicted, tried and convicted on a kangaroo charge for several months.

Special prosecutors appointed by the court took over the second case, and Smolet was convicted in December. Witnesses to his trial included two brothers who told jurors that Smolet had paid them to carry out the attack, given them money for ski masks and the rope, and instructed them to make the rope into a noose. Prosecutors said he told them what racist and homophobic insults to shout and shout that Smolet was in “MAGA country”, a reference to the slogan of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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Smollett, who knew the men from his work on the Chicago TV show Empire, testified that he did not recognize them and did not know that they were the men attacking him.

Unlike the trial, Lynn agreed to leave photographers and a television camera in court for the hearing – meaning the audience must see and hear Smolet speak in court for the first time.

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See the full coverage of the AP for the case of Juicy Smolet.

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Jesse Smolett was sentenced to 150 days in prison for false assault

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