After Jussie Smollett is sent to prison for 150 months for a hate crime hoax, a defiant family maintains he is innocent; ‘it was a complete montage’

CHICAGO (SCS) — After former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County Jail for his hate crime hoax conviction, he and his family have angrily maintained his innocence.

Smollett repeatedly shouted “I’m innocent and I’m not suicidal” after learning of his fate.

“If I did this, it means I put my fist into the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years, and the fears of the LGBT community,” Smollett told the table judge. the defense after his conviction. “Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I didn’t do this. And I’m not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I walk in there, I don’t care. I didn’t, and you all should know that. I respect you, your honor, I respect your decision.

In December, a Cook County jury found Smollett guilty on five of six counts of disorderly conduct, while acquitting him on the sixth count. Prosecutors had accused Smollett of paying two brothers – Abel and Ola Osundairo – to help him stage a fake racist and homophobic attack on himself in January 2019, then lying to police about it, in the purpose of advertising. The Osundairo brothers were the main witnesses against him at trial, and Judge James Linn said Smollett clearly used them as his “buddies”.

But after the hearing, Smollett’s family continued to claim that Smollett had indeed been the victim of a hate crime, with his 92-year-old grandmother Molly speaking on his behalf at the hearing. of sentencing, calling the case a “complete set-up”.

“We need to prevent young black men from being abducted from the prison system,” she said.

She also criticized media coverage of the case.

“You need to do more investigative reporting. No more investigation, okay? she says.

Smollett’s older sister Jazz said their assertion that he is innocent “should not be a controversial statement because it is the absolute truth.

“What should be controversial is all the miscarriage of justice this ordeal has been. I pray for peace upon my brother. I pray for the peace of God upon my brother and upon all victims of oppression and hate. I pray that we can do better as one world,” she said.

Smollett’s older brother Joe, who spoke on his behalf at the sentencing hearing, said he was “very disappointed” with Judge Linn’s decision to send Smollett to jail.

“I didn’t expect him to be completely forgiving,” Joe said. “At the same time, he shamed my brother. He talked about his arrogance. He doesn’t know the difficulties my brother is facing. He doesn’t know anything he’s dealing with. He doesn’t know anything case. . He spent all this time shaming him. In 2022, you don’t shame people like that, okay? He basically called it a mental case.”

Smollett’s younger brother, Jocqui, said his brother didn’t deserve to be behind bars.

“I watched my brother go from being a complete victim, which he still is, he was assaulted, and he’s now going to jail for being assaulted. I watched my brother get locked up in both weeks for being mugged. Do you know how crazy that is?” he said. “They want to say in this court, and say he’s the reason people aren’t going to report hate crimes? They’re the reason people aren’t going to report hate crimes. None of you there believed. “

“It’s not his fault that people don’t believe the survivors anymore,” he said.


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