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Tipsheet

Jussie Smollett Sentenced for Hate Crime Hoax

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

Subway sandwich enthusiast and former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced by Chicago Judge James Linn on Thursday evening after a jury found him guilty in December on five of the six counts he faced for the hate crime hoax that became a laughable rallying cry for woke politicians and the mainstream media.

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Judge Linn's sentence: 30 months felony probation, the first 150 days of which Smollett will spend in the Cook County Jail, restitution in the amount of $120,106, and a fine of $25,000.

Smollett, who declined to speak at his sentencing hearing, ripped off his face mask after the sentence was read and declared repeatedly "I am not suicidal" while again proclaiming his innocence. 

Before the sentence was read, Judge Linn scolded Smollett for the damage the disgraced actor caused: "You've turned your life upside down by your misconduct and shenanigans," Judge Linn told Smollett. "You've destroyed your life as you knew it," he said of the hate crime hoax. "You wanted to make yourself more famous, and for awhile it worked," Judge Linn added. 

The special prosecutor had requested imprisonment for Smollett in addition to probation and financial restitution to repay the resources expended by Chicago's authorities investigating Smollett's phony story. Smollett's defense, meanwhile, argued that anything more than probation would be punitive and claimed that Smollett has "suffered enough." Being sent to prison, his defense argued, would be a "death sentence" due to COVID-19. 

Prior to Judge Linn's decision, Smollett's counsel failed in a last-ditch request to have the jury's guilty verdict thrown out and a new trial ordered. That, however, didn't keep Smollett's legal team from continuing the absurd hate crime charade by speaking about "the night Jussie was attacked" in 2019. 

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All this despite a jury already finding that Smollett had lied about the escapade following a trial that revealed Smollett had taken his accomplice assailants on a "dry run" before the faux attack was staged.

The sentencing hearing dragged on for more than four hours as Smollett's legal team called multiple witnesses to testify to their client's charitable work and read multiple letters sent on Smollett's behalf, including from Black Lives Matter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Alfre Woodard. Judge Linn's reaction to the letters from celebrities and leftist organizations was simply head-shaking and scowling.

A victim impact statement was read by the special prosecutor's office on behalf of Chicago authorities that noted the "chilling effect" Smollett's hoax had for actual victims of crime and noted the valuable time and more than $130,000 Chicago officials spent investigating a hate crime that never happened.

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Smollett's 92-year-old grandmother appeared in-person to ask Judge Linn for leniency on her grandson's behalf. She also criticized reporters in the room, saying "you haven't done a good job on investigative reporting — I've worked on documentaries, I know what it is — you gotta do better."

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