Watch Live: Jussie Smollett 'Empire' Star Sentencing – Judge Hands Down The Sentence
Happening in Court:
Rich Daniels – Musical Director, The City Lights Orchestra
Sharon Gelman – Fmr. Director, Artists For A New South Africa
Joel Smollett – Defendant’s Brother
Molly Smollett – Grandmother
Arguments & Mitigation
Letter From Latonya And Samuel L. Jackson
Letter From Rainbow Push Coalition
Letter From Illnois Innoncence Project
Letter For Alfre Woodard
Letter From Derek Johnson, President NAACP
Daniel Webb – Special Prosecutor
Nenye Uche – Defense Attorney
HAPPENING IN COURT: Before sentencing, the defense and prosecution have the right to present people to plead to the judge for a lighter or stronger sentence.
Actor Jussie Smollett, 39, is scheduled to be sentenced for faking a hate crime attack. Court is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. ET in Chicago, Illinois.
Jurors convicted him in December of five out of six counts of disorderly conduct. He faces three years in prison for each of the five counts.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, recruited brothers Abel Osundairo and Ola Osundairo of staging the fake racist, homophobic hate crime where he was the apparent victim, prosecutors said. He claimed his attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country,” and put a makeshift noose on him and poured bleach on him. Authorities said that he made it all up as a publicity stunt because he was unhappy with his pay on the show “Empire.”
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb articulated Smollett’s orders to the brothers like this for jurors, saying, “I want you to attack me, but when you hit me, I want you to kind of pull your punches a bit because I don’t want to get seriously hurt.”
Surveillance footage showed Smollett’s car circling the intersection of the faked attack to show the brothers where he wanted it to happen, Webb said.
Smollett denied in testimony that he made it all up.
Defense lawyer Nenya Uche argued that no physical or forensic evidence linked the actor to the alleged hoax. He asserted the brothers made up the hoax story for their own benefit. It was out of character for Smollett to stage the assault, putting himself in that position, Uche said.
“Jussie was not a person who liked attention,” he said. “Even his publicist was frustrated at him for that. It’s fantasy.”
Aaron Keller and Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images]
#JussieSmollet #Empire #Sentencing