Jussie Smollett on Thursday (March 10) began serving his 150-day sentence at the Cook County Jail in Chicago on charges of lying to police about a hate-crime he orchestrated in his own personal assault.
After his sentencing, the Empire actor claimed he was “not suicidal,” referring to the notion that if he were to die behind bars it wouldn’t be on his own account.
On Friday, defense attorney Heather Widell told Insider that Smollett had Jeffrey Epstein on his mind.
"He didn't have any basis for that," Widell said of Smollett's concern. "It was just after Epstein, he just wanted to make sure that everything was kosher." She also added that Smollett’s defense is preparing to file a notice of appeal and is hoping he can be freed pending the appeal process.
Smollett spent his first day in his cell at the Cook County Jail on Friday (March 11). His mugshot has also been released to the public, which you can view below.
In addition to jail time, Smollett will also have to pay $130,000 in restitution, spend 30 months on probation during which time he’ll be able to leave the state of Illinois.
Prior to delivering his sentencing, Cook County Judge James Linn labeled Smollett “profoundly arrogant, selfish, and narcissistic" for lying to investigators.
“You’re just a charlatan,” he added. “You’re now a permanently convicted felon. Your very name has become an adverb for lying. You’re the butt of jokes.”
After learning of his sentence, Smollett lowered his mask and said he’s “not suicidal” and proclaimed his innocence. ”I am innocent, and I am not suicidal,” he said as he began to stand. “I stuck my fist in the fears of the Black community and the fears of the LGBT community."
Judge Linn also ordered that Smollett’s sentence begin immediately as he was led out of the courtroom by law enforcement.
In December of 2021, the former Empire actor faced six counts of disorderly conduct under a subsection of the law that prohibits false reports to police. He was convicted on five of the six counts. Smollet faced up to three years in prison for each of the five felony counts.
On Jan. 29, 2019, Smollett alleged that two men assaulted him in a racist and homophobic attack while he was returning home from a sandwich shop in Chicago. Smollett claimed that he was beaten, called racist and homophobic slurs, and had a rope put around his neck.
After accusations that he staged the incident, Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts, but eventually all charges were dropped by District attorney Kim Foxx. However, in February 2020, a Cook County, Ill. grand jury indicted Smollett on six counts of making false reports to police.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb claimed Smollett hired brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to stage the alleged attack. In their testimony, the Osundairo brothers corroborated the prosecution’s theory. They said Smollett crafted the scheme for publicity and paid them $3,500 to stage the assault.
Smollett denied that accusation and said the $3,500 was for fitness training. Smollett also alleged the brothers sought a payoff from him to change their testimony.