American actor Jussie Smollett, 39, was sentenced yesterday, Thursday, March 10, to nearly five months in prison by a Chicago court for organizing an attack that at the time sparked outrage in the United States. The African American and gay comedian, famous for his participation in the TV series “Empire”, was found guilty in December of having “planned” the false assault by paying two brothers of Nigerian origin 3,500 dollars, and having lied several times to the police in the his depositions.

“He wanted attention , he wanted to be more famous,” Judge James Linn said as he delivered the sentence. He chastised an ” arrogant , selfish and narcissistic ” defendant who “premeditated to the extreme” a lie that ultimately had the opposite effect. “He ruined his life” and ” harmed the real victims of racist crimes,” he explained. Jussie Smollett, who was to be jailed on Thursday night, will have to serve the first 150 days in prison and will spend a total of 30 months on probation . He must also reimburse $ 120,106 corresponding to part of the expenses related to theChicago police investigation . “ I am innocent . I could have said I’m guilty a long time ago, ”Smollett shouted with his fist raised as the sheriff’s officers carried him out of the courtroom. Lawyers and Jussie Smollett’s family had previously pleaded for the clemency of Judge Linn and asked for an alternative sentence to prison.

The protagonist of the successful television series “Empire” (but after the accusations against him he was excluded from the cast), Jussie Smollett has always proclaimed himself innocent . He claimed he was attacked in the middle of the night on January 29, 2019 in a Chicago street by two masked men , self-styled fans of President Donald Trump . According to the actor, the two attackers addressed him with racist and homophobic insults and put a noose around his neck. According to his lawyers, the attack on Smollett by Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, two brothers they met on the setof “Empire,” would have been motivated by money and homophobia . But for the prosecution, the actor designed the attack to advance his career by leveraging his notoriety of him. The case had caused a shock in a country still strongly marked by racial and sexual discrimination . Smollett had immediately received the support of many personalities from the political and cultural world.

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