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Jussie Smollett realized his destiny Thursday after a choose delivered the phrases of his sentence following a contentious 4 hours in a Chicago courtroom.
Mere minutes after being ordered into custody to start serving 150 days in jail, the actor addressed the court docket one final time – regardless of the very fact he stated previous to having his sentence learn that he had nothing to say.
The previous “Empire” star, 39, stood up and affirmed his innocence in a passionate declaration to Cook dinner County Choose James Linn, saying, “I’m not suicidal.”
“I respect you, your honor,” Smollett stated as he positioned his palms collectively in a gesture towards the bench. “I respect your decision. Jail time? I am not suicidal. … If anything happens to me in there I did not do it to myself!”
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Smollett was then surrounded by sheriff’s deputies earlier than he was led away from the courtroom – however not earlier than elevating his proper fist within the air on the way in which out.
Along with the jail time, Linn additionally sentenced Smollett to 30 months of felony probation. Smollett was additionally ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to town of Chicago.
Finest deal out there?
Following the sentencing, Ally F. Keegan – a felony protection lawyer on the San Diego-based Law Office of David P. Shapiro, who just isn’t concerned within the case – advised Every day Put up Digital that she believes the sentence handed to Smollett is truthful given the character of the crime and actions that went into planning and carrying it out.
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“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 defined, including that Smollett acquired one of the best deal out there to him.
“From behind a plexiglass barrier and next to a diet cranberry juice, the judge recounted the numerous factors he believed made the case reprehensible: that Smollett had planned the hoax so meticulously, the negative impact it could have on real victims of hate crimes, the waste of law enforcement time and resources to investigate it, and Smollett’s own testimony that the judge said ‘can only be described as pure perjury.’
“The sentence may be justified by Smollett’s lack of prior felony historical past and different mitigation filed by his attorneys, notably letters of help from distinguished social justice and neighborhood leaders,” Keegan continued. “As he was introduced into custody to start his sentence, Smollett shouted that he’s harmless however not suicidal, so any hurt that will come to him whereas in custody won’t be self-inflicted.”
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“Whereas the following step within the authorized course of could also be an attraction, Smollett should additionally face the court docket of public opinion shifting ahead; in pursuing his performing profession or anything,” she added.
Pulled out all the stops
During Smollett’s sentencing hearing, the defense team for the singer-songwriter pulled out all the stops in their concerted efforts to first have the jury overturn Smollett’s conviction, then for the judge to grant Smollett a new trial and later in their attempt to mitigate possible jail time down to none.
Defense counsel team member Tina Glandian alleged a number of “flagrant errors” that she argued worked against Smollett during his trial.
She maintained that Smollett’s rights were violated and also brought up the idea that “the fees ought to have been dismissed” given the fact that the Smollett case was initially dismissed and Smollett was assigned community service and forfeited $10,000.
“On the finish of the day a deal is a deal and the case ought to have been dismissed due to this,” Glandian argued Thursday, maintaining in earnest that, “We expect the jury choice course of was flawed.”
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“Anybody this jury may inform it was not a jury of Mr. Smollett’s friends in Chicago,” she said in defense of the actor and singer.
‘Harsh’ probationary period
Contrary to Keegan’s stance on the fairness of Smollett’s sentence, Rachel Fiset, a white-collar criminal defense attorney and managing partner of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman – who is also an onlooker to the Smollett proceedings and not involved – relayed to Daily Post Digital that the felony probationary period of 30 months seems a bit “harsh” even with the judge’s justification of the ruling.
“The choose gave a prolonged clarification of his reasoning behind his dedication of this sentence. The sentence gives for about 5 months in jail, which is considerably lower than the utmost, however a reasonably harsh 30 months of probation supervised by the court docket,” Fiset explained. “The probation, nevertheless, permits for Smollett to journey freely and ‘call-in’ to report on his standing – which significantly lessens the impression of the time period of probation. General, I imagine this sentence pretty displays the severity of the crimes of which Smollett was convicted.”
Court testimony on behalf of Smollett came mainly from people from the performer’s personal life, who spoke out in support of his character and charity efforts.
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The actor’s older brother, Jojo Smollett, pleaded to the court that his brother had already dealt with enough punishment by having his”Empire” role “ripped away from him earlier than he was even charged.” He also spoke of the “anxiousness” that Smollett had already suffered along with the “pseudo home arrest” he has since been on in the midst of his trial.
Smollett’s grandmother, Molly Smollett, 92, also took the witness stand and admonished the media while challenging journalists to do better investigative reporting.
In December, Smollett was convicted in a trial that included the testimony of two brothers who told jurors Smollett paid them to carry out the attack, gave them money for the ski masks and rope, and instructed them to fashion the rope into a noose.
Prosecutors said Smollett told the brothers what racist and homophobic slurs to shout, and to yell that Smollett was in “MAGA Nation,” a reference to Donald Trump’s presidential marketing campaign.
Smollett confronted as much as three years in jail for every of the 5 felony counts of disorderly conduct — the cost filed for mendacity to police — of which he was convicted. He was acquitted on a sixth depend.
The Related Press contributed to this report.