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(Video: Fox News)
Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett completely lost it after he was sentenced for orchestrating a 2019 hate crime hoax that high profile Democrats seized on to promote the false narrative that America is a racist country.
Following a four-hour hearing in a Chicago courtroom, Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced the former “Empire” star to 150 days in jail, a $25,000 fine, 30 months of felony probation and payment of $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago.
After learning of his fate that he would have to spend time behind bars, Smollett snapped, exclaiming “I am not suicidal” and engaged in a racially-tinged rant in which he denied his guilt.
“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 LGBT community,” he said while still at the defense table. “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.”
The 39-year-old actor was then led away by sheriff’s deputies, thrusting his clenched fist into the air as he departed the courtroom and shouting, “I am not suicidal! I am not suicidal!” He added, “And I am innocent, I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago.”
(Video: LiveNOW from FOX)
Smollett, who is gay claimed that he was assaulted by two Trump supporters wearing red MAGA hats on a frigid January night whom he claimed beat him up and berated him with racist and homophobic slurs and yelled about him being in “MAGA Country.” After police arrived at his apartment, the actor was wearing a makeshift noose around his neck, he also claimed that his attackers splashed bleach on him.
But police nearly immediately smelled something fishy about his story and within days, the two Nigerian brothers who had been hired by the actor to stage the attack rolled over on him, setting in motion the chain of events that led to Thursday’s sentencing.
Judge Linn harshly castigated Smollett whom he called a “disgrace” as well as “profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic” in a verbal beatdown.
“You’re not the victim of a racist hate crime, you’re not the victim of a homopobic hate crime, you’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime and that’s shameful especially,” Linn said.
After the sentencing, legal expert Ally F. Keegan, a criminal defense attorney weighed in with Fox News Digital, saying that the sentence was fair “given the nature of the crime and actions that went into planning and carrying it out.”
“Judge James Linn noted he had two sentencing options: either a probationary period with up to 180 days in jail or up to three years in prison,” Keegan explained, adding that Smollett received the best deal available to him,”
“The sentence can be justified by Smollett’s lack of prior criminal history and other mitigation filed by his attorneys, particularly letters of support from prominent social justice and community leaders,” Keegan said. “While the next step in the legal process may be an appeal, Smollett must also face the court of public opinion moving forward; in pursuing his acting career or anything else,” she added, according to the outlet.
Taking the other side was criminal defense attorney Rachel Fiset, managing partner of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman who found the sentencing to be overly harsh.
“The judge gave a lengthy explanation of his reasoning behind his determination of this sentence. The sentence provides for approximately five months in jail, which is significantly less than the maximum, but a fairly harsh 30 months of probation supervised by the court,” Fiset told Fox News Digital. “The probation, however, allows for Smollett to travel freely and ‘call-in’ to report on his status – which greatly lessens the impact of the term of probation. Overall, I believe this sentence fairly reflects the severity of the crimes of which Smollett was convicted.”
When the news initially broke that Smollett had been “attacked” by alleged Trump supporters, Democrats rushed to judgment by taking to Twitter to stoke the flames of racial resentment that fuels the modern incarnation of their party.
“What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie,” tweeted then-candidate Joe Biden.
What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie. https://t.co/o8ilPu68CM
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 30, 2019
Senator Kamala Harris who would go on to become the nation’s vice president also jumped to conclusions, referring to the hoax as a “modern day lynching” when nothing could be further from the truth.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
Smollett received support from many sympathizers including the NAACP, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and actor Samuel L. Jackson who wrote letters making the case for leniency which were read aloud by his attorneys asking Judge Linn “to consider the case’s effect on Smollett’s life and career,” AP reported. “Several supporters spoke about worries that Smollett would be at risk in prison, specifically mentioning his race, sexual orientation and his family’s Jewish heritage.”
“Linn said he did consider those requests for mercy, along with Smollett’s prior work for and financial support of social justice organizations. But Linn also excoriated Smollett as a narcissist and pronounced himself astounded by his actions given the actor’s multiracial family background and ties to social justice work,” according to AP.
“The damage you’ve done to yourself is way beyond anything else than can happen to you from me,” Linn said. “You are now a permanently convicted felon.”
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