OAN’s James Meyers
3:22 PM – Friday, December 1, 2023
Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett could be going back to jail after staging a hate crime in 2019 that prompted a media uproar.
On Friday, an Illinois appeals court upheld the Empire actor’s conviction, which included five felony counts of disorderly conduct related to the faux “racist, homophobic attack.” He was also sentenced to 150 days in prison in 2021.
In a 2-1 decision, Justice David Navarro and Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan agreed on upholding the conviction, while Judge Freddrenna Lyle dissented, according to court documents.
In 2019, Smollett reported to Chicago police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men wearing ski masks. Smollett falsely claimed that the two men were Trump supporters who were wearing “red MAGA hats” and that they said “This is MAGA country” before attacking him.
However, the search for the attackers turned into an investigation on Smollett and resulted in an arrest after it was discovered that he had actually paid the two men, whom he knew from the cast of Empire, to help him arrange and set up the fake hate crime.
During the process, lawyers for Smollett still maintained that he was the victim of racial injustice.
During the sentencing hearing, Smollett claimed 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,” Smollett said.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb told TMZ that the ruling was “a resounding and profound victory.”
“Having a dissenting voice in the ruling is not uncommon. The decision by the appeals court is final,” he insisted.
“What happens next is Mr. Smollett can file a petition for a higher appeal to The Illinois Supreme Court,” Webb continued.
“This is purely discretionary meaning the court does not have to hear this appeal. He lost all legal rights to an appeal with today’s decision. If the Supreme Court decides to hear his appeal, there will be briefs filed and a hearing date set. If not, then the case goes back to the trial court, which will execute his sentence.”
Smollet’s team said that they will continue fighting the decision.
“We are preparing to escalate this matter to the Supreme Court, armed with a substantial body of evidence,” a rep for the actor told TMZ.
The disgraced actor reported to jail on March 10th, 2022 and was released only six days later pending his appeal.
After Smollett’s legal team files for another appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court will decide whether or not they will hear the case. If the conviction is not overturned, he will be required to serve out the rest of his 150-day jail sentence.
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