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Jussie Smollett sentenced to 5 months in jail over hate crime hoax

Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor who was convicted of staging a fake hate crime against himself, is headed to jail.

A judge sentenced the actor to 30 months probation Thursday after he was convicted of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime. He was ordered to spend 150 days of his sentence in county jail starting immediately. 

Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago, and he received a fine of $25,000, the maximum. 

In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men in Chicago, who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him. But police later alleged Smollett staged the attack himself, and prosecutors said he paid the two men to help him orchestrate the hoax.

"You're just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime," Judge James Linn told Smollett Thursday. "And that's shameful." 

Smollett has long maintained his innocence and said under oath during his trial that "there was no hoax." Linn said he took into account some "real serious aggravating factors," including "the pain" Smollett "caused to real victims of hate crimes" and his testimony denying the hoax. "You committed hour upon hour upon hour of pure perjury," the judge said, also telling Smollett his "very name has become an adverb for lying."  

After the sentence was announced, Smollett began repeatedly yelling that he's innocent and suggested he was concerned about being killed in jail. 

"I am not suicidal," Smollett said, raising his voice. "I am innocent, and I am not suicidal. If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years, and the fears of the LGBTQ community."

Smollett added, "If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that."