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'I'm Not Suicidal:' Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail in 2019 Case

'I'm Not Suicidal:' Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail in 2019 Case

‘I’m Not Suicidal:’ Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail in 2019 Case

The former Empire actor had an emotional message for the court after his sentence was handed down.

Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail, 30 months on probation, and ordered to pay restitution and fines following his conviction on multiple low-class felonies for staging and reporting to police a fake hate crime. However, it was the reaction from the former Empire actor after the sentence was handed down that garnered headlines.

Surrounded by his attorneys and with his family in the courtroom, Smollett shared an emotional message where he continued to proclaim his innocence as he was led from the room.

"I am not suicidal," Smollett said repeatedly after Judge James Linn handed down the sentence. "I am innocent, and I am not suicidal."

"If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ+ community," he continued with his statement. "Look, your honor, I respect you, and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that. I respect you, your honor, and I respect your decision. Jail time? I am not suicidal."

The judge cut off him to deal with procedural matters, including the denial of a request for a stay of the sentence by Smollett's attorney.

"The wheels of justice turn slowly, and sometimes the hammer of justice has to fall," the judge said denying the motion. "And it's falling right here, right now. I'm not staying this. This happens right here, right now."

Judge Linn was particularly harsh in his earlier words for Smollett, castigating him for his "misconduct and shenanigans." He accused Smollett of "actually throwing a national pity party" in the hopes of making himself more famous.

"You're just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that's shameful, especially from the family you got brought up in, with your family values," Linn continued, later adding that Smollett's "performance on the witness stand -- this can only be described as pure perjury."

As Smollett was led away after delivering his impromptu speech declaring both his innocence and his will to live, he held his clenched fist above his head. He turned back and appeared to direct words back into the courtroom as he was led from the door on his way to jail.

Smollett was indicted in 2019 with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in connection with the alleged hate crime. He was mysteriously cleared of all charges not long after. A few months later, though, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed a special prosecutor, Dan Webb, to investigate why the charges were dropped. Webb later filed a six-count indictment against Smollett. Smollett has consistently maintained his innocence throughout the process.

"They won't let this go," he told Marc Lamont-Hill in 2020. "It doesn't matter -- there is an example being made. And the sad part is that there's an example being made of someone who did not do what they are being accused of."

While Smollett will begin serving his sentence immediately, his attorney plans on filing an appeal.

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