‘Profoundly arrogant, selfish and narcissistic’: judge lays into Jussie Smollett during sentencing hearing

Laurel Duggan, DCNF

A judge sentenced Jussie Smollett to 150 days in jail, 30 months probation, $120,106 restitution and a $25,000 fine Thursday for five charges of disorderly conduct related to a false police report he filed alleging to be the victim of a hate crime.

The judge told Smollett he had a good side, but “you have another side of you that is profoundly arrogant and selfish and narcissistic. That’s the only thing that can be concluded.”

Smollett was found guilty in December 2021 of crimes related to a false police report he filed in which he claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime in 2019.

“The hypocrisy is just astounding,” the judge said after listening to hours of testimony about Smollett’s lifelong involvement in racial justice initiatives. “You really crave the attention.”

“There are people that are actual, genuine victims of hate crimes that you did damage to,” the judge continued.

The “Empire” star claimed two men shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him while he was out walking in Chicago at 2 a.m. before punching him, pouring bleach on him, and putting a noose around his neck.

Police determined that Smollett staged the attack with the help of two staff members from “Empire.” One of the staff members testified that Smollett staged the attack for media attention, and the other said the star had asked to be punched, but “not too hard,” and to have “a chance to fight back.”

“I am not suicidal. I am not suicidal. I am innocent, and I am not suicidal,” Smollett said after the sentencing was handed down.

Many prominent Democrats expressed immediate support for Smollett after news broke of the fake attack, including then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, then-California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Other celebrities, including Samuel L. Jackson and Rev. Jesse Jackson, called for a lenient sentence in letters to the judge, arguing that Smollett was convicted on nonviolent offenses and should not have to spend time in jail, according to the NYT.

“You put the noose around your own neck,” the judge told Smollett, speaking literally.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Mr. Smollett’s statement following the sentencing.

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