Jussie Smollett Appeals 150-Day Jail Sentence In Hate Crime Hoax Conviction
It looks like Jussie Smollett’s legal team is putting up a fight.
On Wednesday (Mar. 1), attorneys for Jussie Smollett filed an appeal of his conviction in hopes of keeping him out of jail. The actor was released a year ago pending his appeal, after serving six days of his 150-day sentence.
In December of 2021, the “Empire” star was convicted after lying to authorities about allegedly being attacked for being Black and gay by white Donald Trump supporters. He claimed the alleged attackers hurled racist and homophobic words at him, poured a liquid thought to be bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck.
However, in March 2022, Jussie Smollett, 40, was found guilty of making false police reports and felony disorderly conduct. The actor was sentenced to 150 days in prison and placed on 30 months of probation. However, he was released on bond while his case is on appeal.
In the appellate brief, Smollett’s attorneys argue that the trial judge, James Linn, made several reversible errors, that the 150-day sentence is excessive, and that the entire prosecution should have been dismissed.
According to the appeal brief, Jussie’s due process rights were violated when the trial court made,
“uninvited commentary that was dismissive of lines of defense questioning that had sought to establish homophobia, a central theory of the defense case; made commentary defending a detective’s investigative decision during cross-examination; accused one of the defense counsel’s without basis, of editorializing during cross-examination; and made commentary that sought to hurry along parts of the defense cross-examination; all of which occurred in front of the jury.”
Jussie’s lawyers claim that the jury could have been swayed due to “inappropriate comments” made during cross-examination.
In addition, the appeal states Jussie’s,
“Fourteenth Amendment Rights to Due Process and Equal Protections under the law were violated when the trial court deprived Mr. Smollett of a jury of his peers by allowing the prosecution to strike all but one African American juror and a gay juror.”
Jussie Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution to the Chicago Police Department for its overtime costs, and a $25,000 fine. However, the defense argues that Illinois law does not allow the police department to be considered a “victim,” and therefore the restitution order should be overturned.
During his sentencing, Smollett maintained his innocence.
“I did not do this, and I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
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