Court Orders Jussie Smollett Back to Jail for Hate Crime Hoax

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December 1, 2023

An appeals court on Friday ordered actor Jussie Smollett to serve out the rest of the sentence he received for convictions stemming from his 2019 hate crime hoax.

The Illinois Appellate Court upheld the convictions 2-1 after Smollett challenged the appointment of a special prosecutor, jury selection, and other aspects of the case, the Associated Press reported. A jury convicted Smollett in December 2021 on five counts of disorderly conduct—which can be levied in Illinois for lying to the police—after authorities said he lied about being attacked by two Trump-supporting men in ski masks who targeted him for being black and gay.

It turned out that Smollett had paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.

Smollett, known for his role in the show Empire and as a child actor in The Mighty Ducks, served six days of his 2022 sentence of 150 days in jail before he appealed his conviction. His attorneys argued that Smollett faced prosecution for the same crime twice because he agreed to perform community service and forfeit the $10,000 he paid in bond when Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against him. A judge later overturned that deal, however, and appointed a special prosecutor for Smollett's case, according to CBS News.

The court ruled that prosecuting him again was "not fundamentally unfair."

Several Democrats believed the hoax when reports of it first surfaced in January 2019. President Joe Biden said on X, then Twitter, months before he announced his 2020 campaign, that what happened to Smollett "must never be tolerated in this country." Vice President Kamala Harris, who had just announced an eventually unsuccessful run for president, called the incident "an attempted modern day lynching."

Published under: Jussie Smollett